Gipsy Kings founding member Jahloul "Chico" Bouchikhi formed Chico And The Gypsies after falling out with Gipsy Kings manager, Claude Martinez, in 1991. The group quickly attracted attention, selling more than two hundred thousand copies of their debut album, Vagabundo. The son of North African immigrants, Bouchikhi was twelve years old when he met the children of influential Gypsy singer, Jose Reyes. Spending most of his time at Reyes's encampment, he taught himself to play guitar at the age of seventeen. He ingrained himself into the Reyes family even further after marrying Reyes's daughter, Marthe. Before Reyes's death, he named Bouchikhi as his successor as leader of the family's band. Originally named Los Reyes, the group performed every summer on the beaches of Saint Tropez. Renamed the Gipsy Kings in 1983, they continued to build a very loyal fan base. Commercial success, however, continued to be allusive. In 1986, the Reyes brothers temporarily left music. Biuchikhi remained the only band member to live in a Gypsy caravan, under the Arles Bridge. In 1988, he helped to organize a Romany Arts Festival. Returning to music in 1989, Bouchikhi and the Gypsy King successfully reached out to the international marketplace, releasing eight top-selling albums between 1988 and 1991. Leaving the Gipsy Kings in 1991, Bouchikhi formed Chico And The Gypsies with musicians from Arles and Montpelier. He continues to serve as a special envoy for peace for UNESCO. ~ Craig HarrisPortions of Content Provided by Rovi Corporation.
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