The Gipsy Kings: A Concert Review

GipsyPhotoBy Sam Horn

Salt Lake City, which is nestled in the valley near the Wasatch Range in Utah, was in for a special treat during the summer of 2012 from the musical industry. The Gipsy Kings, a flamenco rumba band, came to town August 13 to show off their impressive musicality.

The intriguing genre that is flamenco rumba is a style of Spanish music, song, and dance. The Gipsy Kings incorporated the use of congas and multiple instances of hand clapping in the songs. The Gipsy Kings are an experienced group of musicians, having played together and toured the world since 1987.

Upon arriving at the venue where the Gipsy Kings were playing at, I was astounded by the beautiful scenery surrounding the concert setting. The concert was played at the Red Butte Gardens, located adjacent to the University of Utah campus. The illustrious landscape around the gardens beautifully complimented what was an extraordinary concert. The Gardens were surrounded by the gorgeous view of the Rocky Mountains, which provided a great atmosphere for a magnificent concert.

The concert was about an hour and a half long, and every moment was thoroughly enjoyable. The Gipsy Kings opened up with Djoba Djoba, one of their most well-known songs. After playing this popular song, one of guitarists, Paul Reyes, musically strummed on his guitar during the next song. His fast-paced song seemed so effortless, as his graceful hands plucked the strings. This song exemplified just how well the Gipsy Kings played their dance tunes. It also showed how much they cared about providing the optimum experience for their adoring fans.

The Red Butte Garden crowd, who was seated comfortably in the grass in front of the large musical stage, soon began to rise to their feet and clap along to the songs played by the five guitarists. This experience itself made me happy and worry-free, as I could just simply close my eyes and take in the Gipsy King’s musical prowess. I knew I would enjoy the show, but after hearing the first four crowd-pleasing songs, I knew I was in for an exemplary concert.

I could sense that the crowd around me had the same feeling about the Gipsy Kings: they were all in awe by the musical talents of these world-class musicians.

Many of the songs the Gipsy Kings played at the concert I did not recognize from the one album I own, which is named Best of the Gipsy Kings. Concerning this aspect, it made me appreciate them even more as I was able to listen what they are truly capable of. Many of their songs on their album, Best of the Gipsy Kings, are very fun to dance to, but it does not truly show the world-class musicianship of their lead guitar player, Tonino Baliardo.

During the concert, Baliardo was able to show his impressive soloing ability on the acoustic guitar. This, in my opinion, truly separates the Gipsy Kings from other flamenco rumba bands from across the world. Not many flamenco rumba bands have a lead guitarist that can make the audience cry with tears of joy.

After hearing Baliardo for the first time at the concert, I knew that he was truly one of the founding fathers of the flamenco rumba music genre. I could definitely sense his passion behind every chord he struck on his beautiful acoustic guitar.

Austen Diamond, a blogger for City Weekly: Music, stated that the Gipsy Kings spoke in French and Spanish during the concert, making it hard to understand what they were getting at if you didn’t speak their language. This language barrier made it difficult to comprehend what the last message Nicholas Reyes, the lead singer, said to the audience.

Having taken Spanish classes for three consecutive years in high school, I could understand several words, but only in some of the songs. However, I am not fluent in Spanish, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the Gipsy Kings concert. Music is a universal language and I believe that no matter what language the performers speak, it doesn’t detract from revealing their musical capacities to their audience.

In December, I might have to make a trip out to Vancouver, Canada on December 6 to hear the Gipsy Kings. I just can’t get enough of them, and after hearing their beautiful music in a beautiful atmosphere at the Red Butte Gardens, I have become enveloped in the Gipsy Kings’ music. Next year, the Gipsy Kings will be playing in San Francisco on March 29. Lucky San Franciscans …



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