It’s Chico time!

Chico And The Gypsies
Chico And The Gypsies

John Murray chats to a band with a passion for music ...

I had the opportunity to interview Chico Bouchikhi and his band this week on live radio and while English may not be his first language his passion for the music floods over.

His band Chico And The Gypsies play a brand of flamenco, rumba and Latin from their base in Southern France.

Chico’s previous band the Gypsy Kings sold around 20 million albums, became the first French group to score Platinum in the US and had hits with Volare, La Bamba and My Way plus a worldwide smash with Bamboleo which he had in writing.

A Lucenzo summertime dance mix has all the hit elements of the original and appears on Chico’s new album Fiesta (Absolute), as a bonus track along with a brand new recording with the new band.

There are many highlights like a new Graham Gouldman (of 10cc) Latino flavoured song called Siempre Te Amare (I Will Follow You), a chill out tropical traditional instrumental called Pachelbel Gypsy and Las Cartas featuring the vocals of Sophia Essaidi interpreting Sting’s Shape Of My Heart delivered with a tropical sway.

He told me he loves to cook for his neighbour back home and as they visit each other’s homes had decided to record together.

So in comes the legendary Charles Aznavour on his own song T’ Espero to duet with Chico to complete this joyous album.

Chico told me they have just one UK date when they play Theatre Royal Drury Lane no less in November but a full European tour should follow next year.

The new album from The Travelling Band confirms their place in the new growth of folk-rock.

The Big Defreeze (Sideways Saloon), has good harmonies and hot songs like Making Eyes and Quicksand which rock or Borrowed And Blue which has a great retro West Coast feel.

That style continues too with more voices and jangly guitars on the wonderful Pinholes before Hands Up concludes the set as their new sing along anthem.

After a summer of festivals they return to the touring circuit with a show at Edinburgh Voodoo Room on October 9.