Knitting Factory Records (42 mins)
The Kings doing what they do best
In the late 80s, the Gipsy Kings brought pop-flamenco to the world, becoming a household name and world music’s biggest act. This year they celebrate 25 years since their debut with the release of their ninth studio album, Savor Flamenco. It’s been seven years since their last release, Pasajero, but it has been worth the wait – the Gipsy Kings have returned in full force. There’s nothing unexpected here; the album is full of the same distinctive summery joy of their early songs, such as the standout tracks ‘Caramelo’ and ‘Habla Contingo’. But Savor Flamenco does feature a few tracks that experiment with hints of Brazilian music, like ‘Tiempo Del Sol’ or ‘Samba Samba’. Their strengths clearly lie in their virtuosic, upbeat tracks, and the album loses the listener a bit on their slower numbers like ‘Sueno’.
Unlike Roots, which saw them strip back their sound and rediscover their Catalan heritage, Savor Flamenco sees the group return with their characteristic pop- flamenco throughout, though they have left behind the fancy producers for a self-produced effort. After 25 years a more adventurous sense of experimentation might have been welcome. But then again, as they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
TRACK TO TRY Caramelo
This review originally appeared in Songlines #96 (Nov/Dec 2013) p85.