Film ‘Sing’ Revives ‘Bambaleo’
The animated holiday hit movie Sing has given “Bamboleo” new life. Sales of the 30-year-old world party song by the Gipsy Kings spiked 165% in the week ending Dec. 29, with the song re-entering the digital sales chart this week at number 23. (Sing raked in $67.3M globally over the New Year’s weekend according to comScore, coming in No. 2 at the box office after Star Wars’ Rogue One.)
“You can’t just sing,” the Lycra-clad German-accented pig Gunter (Nick Kroll) tells his porcine singing partner Rosita, a desperate housewife voiced by Reese Witherspoon, in the jubilent music-filled movie about a scrappy singing competition. “You’ve got to show the fire and desire.”
Rosita’s “aha” moment arrives when she hears “Bamboleo” in the supermarket and breaks into a full-on ballroom flamenco routine in the aisles, making maracas out of salt and pepper shakers and leaping over piles of produce.
“Bamboleo,” first heard as the opening track of the Gipsy Kings’ self-titled album in 1988, was the group’s debut chart hit, reaching the top 10 on Hot Latin Songs in early 1989, and spending 23 total weeks on the chart. To date, the track has sold 248,000 downloads, according to Nieslen Music.
For the week ending Dec. 22, just after Sing’s release in theaters, “Bamboleo” was up 59 percent in streams to 154,000 weekly U.S. streams.
It’s not the first time the rumba track has been used to cue a combination of passion and camp onscreen. Just a year ago at holiday time, Snoopy performed a bullfighter-inspired dance to “Bamboleo” in 2015’s The Peanuts Movie,
The cast of Glee was similarly seduced by “Bamboleo” in a 2012 episode, which bizarrely paired the flamenco-rooted song with the Mexican pointy-boots craze, in a mashup with Enrique Iglesias’ “Hero.”
Meanwhile, the Gipsy Kings themselves performed the song on Dancing With the Stars in 2010.
While “Bamboleo” is the Gipsy Kings’ best known song, it is not the only one that has brought lasting fame – and income — to the group’s members, who broke up in 2014 (though they continue to perform in separate formations).
In a beloved bowling scene from The Big Lebowski, the band’s flamenco version of “Hotel California” drives John Turturro’s rico suave character, Jesus Quintanta, to ball-licking, alley-prancing glory.
More recently, Better Call Saul was seduced by the Gipsys’ catchy brand of passion: “A Mi Manera” was heard in the AMC show’s second season.