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Gipsy Kings create fun-filled party atmosphere at Cambridge Corn Exchange

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Gipsy Kings. Picture: Vincent Capman
Gipsy Kings. Picture: Vincent Capman

The mega-selling flamenco kings provided the perfect soundtrack to a warm summer’s evening in the city

Known the world over for such enduring hits as Djobi, Djoba, Bamboléo, and Baila Me, the Gipsy Kings treated the Cambridge audience – some of whom were wearing colourful clothes and looking like they were ready to dance – to a run through of old and new material.

With 11 band members on stage, the onslaught on the senses was pleasantly relentless, with different members taking it in turns to take centre stage and/or sing.

The focal points, however, were founding members, vocalist Nicolas Reyes and guitarist Tonino Baliardo – two icons of the genre who have been ever-present in the band since 1978.

Reyes’ distinctive voice is wonderfully familiar and he used to great effect early on on songs like Quiero Saber and Djobi, Djoba. Tonino’s passionate guitar playing was equally superb.

Both went off stage at various points, but the other band members did excellent jobs of filling in for them – a particular high point among the other vocalists’ contributions was their Spanish language take on the Eagles’ Hotel California.

Some of the audience were up and dancing – as warrants music such as this – quite early on, though it took a while for others to join them. A few people stayed sitting down throughout.

Baila Me, Bem Bem Maria and, naturally, Bamboléo were deservedly received with enormous enthusiasm and it was a privilege to hear these classic songs ‘in the flesh’.

After Volare, the final song on the evening, Reyes addressed the crowd in English, having only previously spoken in Spanish. “Good night, I love you!” he said. The feeling was mutual.

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