Sunday, August 7 1921: Guitarist, Manitas de Plata was born in a Gypsy Caravan.

1921 (Taisho 10) Sunday, August 7 The flamenco guitarist Manitas de Plata was born in a Gypsy Caravan in southern France. His real name was Ricardo Barriardo. “Manitas de Plata” means “a small silver hand” in Spanish, and the artist’s name is derived from the nickname that praises his guitar skills in his words. Manitas de Plata is 11 years older than Jango Reinhardt, who is said to be the top gypsy guitarist in the world. Manitas de Plata inherited the craftsmanship of Jango Reinhardt and has been in the limelight since Jango’s death in 1953. In 1964, I was invited to Pablo Picasso’s atelier in southern France where I had the opportunity to play the guitar. Picasso called Manitas de Plata “more valuable than me,” and he painted on his guitar on the spot. I’ll attach the photo, so please take a look if you like.

Now, Manitas de Plata is also known for his son and nephew forming the Gypsy Kings. I’m sure many of you know the Gypsies, but Manitas de Plata, his real name is Ricardo Barriardo, and his sons are the three brothers of Gypsies, and the other five members are his nephews, the five brothers of Reyes. This is the first eight members of Gypsy Kings. There was a world music boom or a Latin music boom after the 1980s, and Gypsy Kings led this genre. I love it too, and I remember seeing a Gypsy Kings concert at the Massey Hall, a medium-sized theater on Victoria Street in Toronto, where I spent 1 year as an exchange student at the University of Toronto, Canada, in 1993 and 1994.

While there are some global hits such as “Joby Joba” and “Bamboleo,” the instrumental song “Inspiration,” the ending theme of the Fuji TV drama “Onihei Hankacho,” is loved more than anything in Japan. The exquisite sense of bringing Gypsy Kings to period dramas and the beautiful images of the four seasons of the Edo period made a strong impression on viewers. I found it on Youtube, so I will paste the URL. Please take a look if you like.

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