Viva La Musica


Hollywood Records, 2000

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


The first time I discovered groups like Gipsy Kings, I was instantly hooked. I might not have understood a word they were saying (having been conned into taking Latin during high school instead of Spanish), but I loved the rhythm of the music and the magical poetry of the vocals.

So it should be no surprise that I would like a group like Gipsyland, which is led by Antoine "Kiko" Motos, the touring vocalist for Gipsy Kings. What is surprising about their debut release Viva La Música is how incredible it is - especially when you think that a good portion of this band is still in their twenties. If they're this good my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 now, they're going to be unstoppable in the future.

The main difference between Gipsyland and Gipsy Kings is that there's almost a more modern beat behind Gipsyland's music. At first, hearing such a rhythm shocked me, especially on the title track that opens the album. But quickly this becomes an intregal part of the sound, and to Gipsyland's credit, they don't overuse it. If anything, they use it to strengthen their own guitar-oriented rhythms.

Now, I am sure that having a working knowledge of Spanish is very helpful, but even if you don't speak a word of the language, it's impossible not to get swept up in the verbal rhythms that are laid out on Viva La Música. Tracks like "Ana María," "La Quiero, No, No" and "Mamá" literally suck you in from the beginning. The lead guitar work of Cyril "Mario" Cablat is absolutely astounding, and he, as well as the entire band, know how to make their guitars sing like you've never heard before.

What is especially intriguing about this disc is that the more you listen to it, the more you want to listen to it. Many discs I've listened to get better with additional listens. But Viva La Música is unique in that you won't want to take it out of the CD changer. For that matter, you might want to make it the only disc in the player for a while; it's that good an album.

I hesitate, though, to say that Gipsyland is better than Gipsy Kings, if only because these bands draw inspiration from the same musical well that to slight one band you unintentionally slight the other. Instead, listen to both Gipsyland and Gipsy Kings together and revel in the shared heritage. It absolutely lifts the spirits like you could never imagine unless you have experienced this musical tonic.

Viva La Música is an outstanding first effort, and Gipsyland is a very welcome addition to anyone's musical library. If you don't have it, run down to Best Buy and snag it now. If you have it, slap it in the player again and celebrate in the joy of music.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2000 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Hollywood Records, and is used for informational purposes only.