World renowned flamenco, rock and pop musicians, The Gipsy Kings, featuring original songwriters and guitarists Nicolas Reyes and Tonino Baliardo, were set to tour Australia this April. BRAYDEN EDWARDS caught up with Reyes to chat about a life of travel and what it means to be a gypsy in 2020. The Gipsy Kings’ show on Saturday, April 18 at Riverside Theatre has been postponed. 

You have spent a lot of time travelling throughout your life and Australia must be one of the longest road trips of all. Does that part of being a musician come naturally to you due to your heritage and upbringing?

Yes, we have always travelled from place to place absorbing the local culture. Touring is in our lifestyle and in our blood. It has been an extremely satisfying life to be able to do that and I think that opens up our mind quite a bit to the music we make.

How was it growing up in that kind of environment, it seems like it was normal to just grow up with a guitar in your hand?

Yes, we grew up listening and learning from our families and from local gypsy festivals.

On that note what do you think it means to be a ‘gypsy’ in 2020. How has it changed, is the culture still strong?

The Gypsy culture has always been strong. It has always changed as the culture progresses throughout the world, so in some regard, it is always evolving. The internet has changed quite a lot of cultures, the Gipsy being one of them.

There has been a lot of discussion about how Gipsy Kings’ style was not true to traditional ‘flamenco’ music and even some purists who have been reluctant to embrace it for that reason. Were you deliberately trying to carve your own style or were you more just playing the music that came naturally to you?

We are what we are and make what we can for a living. We hope that Gipsy Kings’ audience start to listen to pure flamenco because they went to our show, but we have always done what we do naturally. We try not to get mixed up in what anyone thinks we are or should be. We really don’t read much about what purists or others think about us. We have a tight community and audience and we play and work solely for them.

And what is different about Gipsy Kings now than in the early days? With some changes in the group has it also influenced the way you play and write songs?

Nicolas and I are the songwriters and producers or our material. We are family, so we play the music we like and know. Family does influence how and what we play. It has been a wonderful life in getting to make a living from doing what we enjoy most and that definitely has influenced our music.

Can you imagine doing anything else? What do you think you would be doing if not playing music?

It has never been anything else for us. I wouldn’t do anything else.

Having done this now for over 40 years now, do you still feel like there is more music inside waiting to be created?

Of course, every time I awake, I feel that there is more. Even in my dreams, which is where I get my ideas from. Hopefully all Australians come out and hear and enjoy us.

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