Francesco Grant, lead guitarist and producer of Energipsy
Energipsy plays gypsy rumba with a young soul and sure-fire instincts — and they just might have the most exciting sound to emerge since the Gypsy Kings ignited international audiences in the 80s. Their songs are full of infectious energy with elements of flamenco, contemporary pop, and world music in the mix as well. The result is a kind of “gypsy new wave;” a bold fusion of age-old musical traditions with rhythms and sounds that will fire your gypsy soul.
Energipsy is a very particular group of personalities:
Francesco Grant is the lead guitarist and group leader. He is Italian with Scottish roots, and has strong ties to the Camargue. Bastian Contreras is the lead vocalist and guitarist. Bastian is of Andalusian gypsy origins, and is a descendant of the famous Montoya family. Juan Cortès Banis is the lead vocalist and guitarist. He is a Spanish gypsy cantaor. José Moreno guitarist and background vocalist, the nephew of Manitas de Plata, he is of Andalusian gypsy origins. Melchor Muñoz a guitarist and the background vocalist of Andalusian gypsy origins.
This distinct cultural mix has surely produced a stimulating musical fusion, a hybrid combination of Spanish flamenco, European pop melodies, Catalan rumba and a myriad of blues, funky and rock influences.
Francesco Grant received his first guitar at the age of eight. He was musically inspired by the great guitarist Manitas de Plata. His maestros were… all the flamenco records he could get hold of! But apart from practising “by ear” the music of the best flameco artists, he also studied guitarists such as Baden Powell, Paco de Lucia, José Feliciano and others. He then had a solid base from which to create his own personal style. Some years later he actually met his idol, Manitas, who “adopted” him as soon as he heard him play. From that moment on he was a fully-fledged member of the great family of gypsy guitarists.
From the Camargue, Francesco began travelling in Italy, France and America to promote gypsy music around the world, presenting a new approach to flamenco with something more than just the same traditional melodies and rhythms.
Energipsy, which has lived and worked for years in Camargue, brought out its first album in ’96: “Energipsy-Chica Bem.” The title track, Chica bem, was an immediate success on the Italian radio charts, becoming one of the summer hits of ’96, and a classic among gypsy standards. After the success of “Chica Bem,” the group took the four guitars past the boundaries of flamenco. They went to Barcelona and played with some of the most important flamenco musicians, such as Carlos Benavent, Jorge Pardo, and Parrita, creating for the first time an exciting fusion of flamenco from Spain and gypsy rumba from Camargue.
On top of the fundamental wild gypsy sound in “Tamborea,” the guitars become Hawaiian in “Magdalena,” Arabian in “Ay,que calor,” and so on… in a continual exploration of rhythms and sounds, carrying on the new “gypsy wave,” that enjoys borrowing and experiencing other musical realities together with the flamenco tradition in absolute liberty…