The group’s members are from Arles and Montpelier, in the South of France, where Romani culture thrives. The Gipsy Kings’ unique sound, full of rapid guitar playing and passionate singing, reflects roots in the indigenous tradition of rumba flamenca music.
The music sounds like pop, but its traditional influences come through loud and clear. Many of the group’s tunes fit social dances like the rumba and the salsa. The Gipsy Kings sound was described by “Rolling Stone Magazine” as coming from the place where “Spanish flamenco and Romani rhapsody meet salsa funk.”
The musicians speak the Romani dialect Gitane and Andalusian Spanish, but their music transcends linguistic boundaries. Gipsy Kings are the biggest-selling French act in the history of the music industry. The 1987 single “Bamboleo” became and international hit, and the band’s self-titled first album went platinum.
The Gipsy Kings have sold more than 4 million albums in the U.S. and more than 14 million worldwide. Its platinum compilation “The Best of the Gipsy Kings” stayed on the charts for more than a year. The group has also scored seven albums on Billboard’s Top World Albums chart.