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GIPSY KINGS by PACO BALIARDO

Biography


Paco Baliardo, also known as Jaques or Max, was born in Montpellier, France on January 21st 1957. He is a Catalan guitarist, co-founder and former member of the Gipsy Kings. He is the nephew of Manitas de Plata and Hyppolyte Baliardo. Together with his brothers Tonino and Diego Baliardo and his cousins Paul, Canut, Nicolas, Patchai and Andre Reyes, he has been part of the Gipsy Kings from the beginning. All of them are Catalan gipsies spread between Montpellier and Arles in the Camargue.

The Baliardo family, originally from Catalonia (Spain), as well as the Reyes family, traveled for generations to Occitania (France) with their caravans until the outbreak of World War I made them return to Catalonia. Paco’s father, Manuel Baliardo (nickname Napoleon) and his brothers were born in Figueres. They returned to Occitania between 1927 and 1928. They settled first in Juvinhac, near Montpellier. Manuel married Teresa Maille, a Catalan gypsy girl who lived in a caravan in Lunel, with whom he had five children: Diego, Loulou, Paco, Tonino, Lily and Nadia Baliardo.

Paco grew up playing the guitar with his brother Tonino. They became quite popular for their guitar virtuosity among the gypsies of Montpellier. In 1983 they formed the Gipsy Kings with the Reyes brothers. In 1989, the became a global phenomenon with their third album „Gipsy Kings“, which included songs like „Djobi, Djoba“, „Bamboleo“ and the ballad „Un Amor“.  Paco has been touring the world with the Gipsy Kings. They have won a Grammy for „Best World Music Album“ with „Savor Flamenco“ in 2014.

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