• Jonathan Widran

DIEGO BALIARDO and The Gypsy Evolution, Este Ritmo

One of the world’s most acclaimed and best loved global music groups for over 30 years, The Gipsy Kings introduced millions of fans to an explosive blend of traditional flamenco styles with Western pop and Latin, Arabic, reggae and jazz guitar reminiscent of Romani-French Gypsy master Django Reinhardt.

At heart, the group of two sets of French born musical brothers was about carrying on the Romani traditions of their families, the Baliardos and the Reyeses. While his brother Tonino remains with the legendary group, Diego Baliardo – well known for playing a left-handed guitar strung with the low “E” string on the top – is keeping the family tradition going in another way with his new, perfectly titled band, Diego Baliardo and The Gypsy Evolution.


The new ensemble struts its stuff for the first time on Este Ritmo, which, true to its title ("This Rhythm"), carries on the vibe of the Gipsy Kings with romance, sensuality, humor, whimsy, infectious percussive joy and infectious melodies and intoxicating exotic rhythms to spare, includes another set of brothers, could be considered The Gipsy Kings: The Next Generation.


With Diego’s amiable and deeply soulful and emotional vocals and trademark guitar leading the way, The Gypsy Evolution features his grandsons, guitarists/vocalists Marlon and Gibson Baliardo (Gibson also plays piano) and friends Antoine Ona (bass) and Pacheco Rodolfo (percussion). You need not understand Spanish to appreciate the lively and adventurous, alternately heartfelt and humorous and always inviting collection, which rolls and grooves amiably from the carefree pleasures of “Me Voy a La Playa” and uber-romantic “Cara Bonita” to the sweet harmonic singalong “Bambino” and plucky, danceable, accordion laced title track.