An Ode To The Gypsy Kings

I am a man of many theories.

About 30% of straight women are fans of chest hair, AI should be given the same rights as humans once they develop consciousness and Captain Piccard is the best fictional leader ever, just to name a few.

But if I had to pick one theory to bet everything on, pick one hill to die on, it would be this: There are more Persian/Farsi speaking fans of The Gypsy Kings than Spanish speaking ones.

This may sound ridiculous due to the fact that the Gypsy Kings sing in Spanish, but I can guarantee it’s true. And I’ll tell you why.

Persian people love to throw parties. What starts out as a plan for a sibling to visit often morphs into inviting half the family over and quickly preparing food for 50 people. Even my most responsible, science-believing relatives are having a hard time keeping gatherings limited to just a few people.

But pre-COVID, especially before all of my cousins grew up and moved away, we would go to a dozen of these gatherings a year and there was always one constant… The Gypsy Kings.

Every single party (known as a “mehmooni” in Farsi) would have Gypsy Kings in their playlist for the night.

Every. Single. Pne.

If there was a DJ (yes, big enough parties had DJs. Persians don’t fuck around), it was confirmed beforehand that they had Gypsy Kings on the playlist.

I don’t speak Spanish very well and I can, no joke, sing along word for word to at least four of their songs. And so could my cousins. And so could my aunts/uncles.

At my cousin’s three-day wedding in Italy, as it was the home country of his wife, there was one moment I will never forget. Early in the wedding, a lot of the music consisted of Italian songs that many of the Persian guests did not know. After about 20 minutes of clapping along to unknown songs, the band started playing, Volare. Words cannot describe how happy the Persians in the crowd became, so here is video proof (please excuse the awful cameraman skills):

Every Persian person in the crowd is confidently singing along to every word of the chorus and maybe 20% of them understand Spanish. It is a weird phenomenon, but somehow The Gypsy Kings have engrained themselves into generations of Persian culture.

Now that we can no longer have these mehmoonis, I try to take time to listen to a Gypsy Kings song and remember the days the whole family would listen to their music while eating, discussing what the Shah should have done to stay in power, or discussing the most recent Lakers game.

Do yourself a favor and listen to some Gypsy Kings today. And there is no better place to start than right here:

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