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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 July 2019

Gipsy Kings founder Andre Reyes on the magic behind the hit 'Bamboleo'

Ahead of his Dubai gig, the singer describes the Gipsy Kings' sound as music 'without borders'
Andre Reyes of the Gipsy Kings performs at Hard Rock Live! in the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel. Getty Images

It is time to ditch the fancy footwear and take your dancing shoes to Dubai Opera on March 6, as the venue hosts Gipsy Kings founder Andre Reyes. With the famed world music group now split up into various splinter groups, Reyes has been leading his own band of musicians, playing the biggest hits from the Gipsy Kings' back catalogue. Before his Dubai show, he speaks to us about the factors behind the Gipsy Kings' success and whether the band’s original line-up will ever re-form.

The great thing about your career is that it is not only about the music, but you also represent your culture. How important has that been for you?

I think that music represents a world culture. We have concerts all over the world, and cultures [unite]. None of these cultures are above another; music always prevails.

The Gipsy Kings' debut album introduced to the world 'Rumba Gitano', that South American rumba rhythm. Can you explain its characteristics, and why was it loved immediately by so many?

The album was a success due to a mixture of factors. We appeared in the world when flamenco fusion still did not exist. People were used to rock or pop and we appeared doing something different. [It was] a music that mixes sounds. It was happy and funny.

The 1987 Gipsy Kings album was a global hit and took the industry by surprise. Why do you think it was so successful?

This album was not conventional at all. In this album, artists and composers from all over the world worked together and enriched it with international sounds. We like to say that it is an album 'without borders'.

The album’s biggest hit, Bamboleo, made you unlikely pop stars. What are your thoughts on the song now?

This song arises from the need to express inner happiness with music. Music is the best medicine for the soul, so we needed to be able to heal the world with music. I think there is no prettier mission for an artist.

Now to more recent music. In 2016 you released your solo album Naci Gitano. Can you tell us about that album?

It is a return to our origins. It is an album full of feeling, where we want to tell the world where we come from, what we are and where we want to go.

Although you are playing with a great band, are you enjoying touring as a solo artist?

The truth is that I never travel alone. Now I travel with a band formed by my family (among them my son, Thomas Reyes). We will always be a great family and on stage we are nine people.

Finally, the Gipsy Kings' story has been successful, but it became messy in the end with the band splitting up into various groups. What are your thoughts on this? Is there any chance for everyone to get back together or is now time to move on to fresh endeavours?

My brother Nicolas and I are acting separately around the world. We are two very strong bands and the only thing we want is to bring the 'Gipsy' music to all corners of the world.

Andre Reyes performs at Dubai Opera on March 6 at 8pm. Tickets available from Dh395 from www.dubaiopera.com

Updated: March 5, 2019 03:36 PM