Kings of flamenco take Istanbul stage
ISTANBULIstanbul’s Harbiye Open Air Theater will host the kings of flamenco, Chico and the Gypsies, on Aug. 26.
Founded by Chico Bouchikhi, the architect of the internationally-acclaimed Gypsy Kings, Chico and the Gypsies has sold more than 20 million albums and become one of the biggest music movements in the world.
As part of the Turkcell Nights Full of Stars concert series, the band will take the Istanbul stage on Aug. 26 at the Harbiye Open Air Theater.
Bouchikhi, who formed the band in 1992, said at the time of the Gypsy Kings he used to think they were not rewarded for their success and he was excluded from the band when he asked the producers why.
“I became very upset when I left the Gypsy Kings. People used to stop me and say, ‘We love you,’ which was a motivation for me. But now I see that we receive the same interest from audiences. The reason for the success is to be sincere I think, and the wish to share music with listeners. I have been on the stage and meeting with people for 40 years and if you are not sincere and real, people do not follow you,” he said.
Bouchhikhi said the reason why people loved Chico and the Gypsies so much was the personality of each artist in the band and their excellent voices, as well as their artistic potential.
Before the Gypsy Kings and Chico and the Gypsy, Bouchhikhi had another band, too. He said that he has always been a part of a band, adding, “Los Reyes in the 1970s, Gypsy Kings in the 1980s and the Gypsies nowadays. We share our music with listeners today with the same passion.”
The band’s latest album, “Color 80’s II,” will be released on the same day they take the stage in Istanbul. Speaking about the album, Bouchhikhi said:
“In my career of 40 years, actually, the latest album is the one I dedicate to the 1980s. ‘Djobi Djoba’ and ‘Bamboleo’ promoted us to the world in 1981 and 1987, respectively. I think that the 1980s brought luck to us. Some songs are timeless. We really enjoy singing these songs. We wanted to remember these hits once again.”
More than 20 years have passed since the formation of Chico and the Gypsies. Bouchhikhi said that both their singers and musicians were very talented.
“Our repertoire has become richer and new talents appeared in our band. But it is still the same our listeners and our music that we perform with passion,” he says.
The band has collaborated with important figures such as Charles Aznavour, Gérard Lenorman and Nana Mouskouri. He defined Aznavour as a “monument of chanson.”
“Aznavour is my friend and I was honored to make a duet with him. We have made a CD project and shared the same stage. It was like a dream; he accompanied us with eternal songs. We have made a duet with Billy Paul, performed the song ‘Me and Mr. Jones.’ All these diets are the reward of years to me; all of them are like a precious gift,” he said.
Speaking of Turkish audiences, Bouchhikhi said Turkish listeners were perfect. “We came to Turkey in the time of the Gypsy Kings and Turkey loved us then, too,” he said. “But I am sure that the Gypsy Kings lovers will also be fond of Chico and the Gypsies. We promise a very good show on Aug. 26 at the Harbiye Open Air Theater,” he added.
As for the repertoire, Bouchikhi said it will be a two-hour concert with 14 musicians, nine singers and guitarists, and it will be the first concert in Turkey with this band.
“I am sure it will not be the final [concert in Turkey], too. Gypsy Kings cult singer Canut Reyes is accompanying us for two months. I formed the band with him 40 years ago. We have a wide repertoire of 20 years as well as the songs from the latest album,” he concluded.