And the tune of “Bamboléo,” one of France’s Gipsy Kings’ most famous songs, has barely faded. But the crowd that packed ZLB 23, which recently opened at the Leela Palace, seemed to want more. “One more time. Play it again,” they clap.
It’s been 35 years since the Gipsy Kings released “Bamboleo,” but the song’s appeal hasn’t died, even though the years have passed. “The music industry has changed in 35 years, but one thing hasn’t changed for us; we sing with our hearts and our emotions,” said band member Juanito Mutos, adding that he firmly believes this is the secret to the band’s longevity.
“The audience and the audience know it,” he says, as we gather in Bengaluru, the last city on their week-long tour of India. Diego Ballardo’s Gipsy Kings India tour started on May 31 in Pune and ended with a concert in Bangalore on June 4, with a stop in Korla, Mumbai on June 2.
As part of the tour, they also made a surprise stop at ZLB 23, which added a special touch to the relaxed Gatsby atmosphere filled with people in tuxedo jackets, tuxedos and cocktail dresses, who seemed excited at the time that they were on the move. With Baila Me” and “Hotel California”.
“We are really happy to be here in India,” Mutus said during the ZLB 23 meeting, adding that India is the ancestral home of the Gitano people. “We are very proud to sing in India because we cannot forget that the first gypsies came from India,” he says. “It’s great to see how many Indians know our songs, even though we sing in Spanish. Even those who weren’t born in the 80s know our songs here.”
According to Diego Ballardo’s website The Gipsy Kings, the band began its journey in 1978 in the south of France, when members of two related families, Ballardo and Reyes, decided to come together to compose music. The original group at that time consisted of Nicholas Reyes, Canute Reyes, Pachay Reyes, Andre Reyes, Diego Ballardo, Tonino Ballardo and Paco Ballardo, who sought to preserve Rome’s culture and language through music. Over the next 40 years, the band became very popular for performing pop-derived flamenco rumba, collaborating with a number of other popular artists including Joan Baez, Ruben Blades, Olivia Newton-John, and Frances Caprel.
Today, many of the original members have left and created their own Gipsy King bands, incorporating second and third generation members of the family into these new bands. However, the source of their rich musical tradition remains the same: the family, which is the core of Gypsy music, Mutos notes. “Our main source of inspiration is our family,” he says. “When we go on stage before a concert, even if they are far away, we always think of them. This is our motivation.”