On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be… legendary!
Gipsy Kings – Bamboléo (1987)
” Bamboléo” is a 1987 Pseudo- Spanish language song by Gitano-French band Gipsy Kings, from their eponymous album. The song was written by band members Tonino Baliardo, Chico Bouchikhi (J. Bouchikhi) and Nicolas Reyes. It was arranged by Dominique Perrier. Bamboleo could be translated as “wobble” “swing” or “dangle” in Spanish.
We’re leaving Australia and making our way to Europe and to France for our latest leg of this epic journey. Gipsy Kings were formed in 1978 in France but their lineage traced to Spain, to the gitani, Spanish Romani that left their homeland during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s and found a safe haven in France. Specialising in rumba flamenco, with a sprinkling of pop, they have gathered a consistent following over the years. We join them in 1987 with their self-titled third album and from there 1001 Songs have gone with Bamboléo.
Bamboléo is actually reworked from Simon Diaz’s Cabalo vejo which appeared on our list back in 1980 if you can believe. The world “bamboléo” refers to a type of movement, swaying if you like, with connotations of dancing i.e. something I can’t do. The song seems to make reference to a distant lover also and the narrator seems desperate to find this person, only for them to be painstakingly just out of reach. The chorus uses the refrain of “bamboléo” and observes that this is how the narrator wishes to live their life, by a bit of swaying, perhaps referring to dance again or perhaps metaphorically for the tumult of their everyday existence.
I do enjoy reading the background to the artists on here and Gipsy Kings are another example of people whose past was not easy but amidst the devastation and detritus they banded together, maintained a community spirit, and forged beautiful music as a result. The Gipsy Kings album was a landmark one for the group, helping them reach a worldwide audience for the first time. With catchy music such as this, it is not hard to see why many ears pricked up upon the album’s release.
Favourite songs so far: