The Gipsy Kings are largely responsible for bringing the joyful sounds of progressive pop-oriented flamenco to the world. The band started out in Arles, a village in southern France, during the ‘70s when brothers Nicolas and Andre Reyes, the sons of renowned flamenco artist Jose Reyes, teamed up with their cousins Jacques, Maurice, and Tonino Baliardo, whose father is Manitas de Plata. They originally called themselves Los Reyes and started out as a Gypsy band traveling about playing weddings, festivals, and in the streets. Because they lived so much like Gypsies, the band adopted the name the Gipsy Kings. Later, they were hired to add color to posh parties in St. Tropez. Popularity did not come to Los Reyes right away, and their first two albums attracted little notice. At this point the Gipsies played traditional — albeit passionate — flamenco music punctuated by Tonino’s precise guitar playing and Nicolas’ exceptional voice. Though they had devoted fans, they still had yet to gain wider recognition until 1986 when they hooked up with visionary producer Claude Martinez, who could see that the Kings had the makings of a world-class band. The Kings’ debut album spent 40 weeks on the U.S. charts and went gold, becoming one of the few Spanish albums to do so. The Kings have had an active release schedule ever since, including the albums Mosaique (1989), Live! (1992), Love & Liberte (1994), Tierra Gitana (1996), Cantos de Amor (1998), Somos Gitanos (2001), Roots (2004), and Pasajero (2007).