Is there a connection between the Gipsy Kings and Providence, RI?
May 29, 2018 5:33 PM   Subscribe

I was just in Providence for a vacation. I ate at Los Andes, which has a cocktail called "Bamboléo, Bamboléa" and was also playing the Gipsy Kings' music all night long. Then the next day, someone was using a Gipsy Kings song to test the speakers for WaterFire. Is there some kind of specific local connection or was this just a coincidence?

Los Andes is a Bolivian and Peruvian restaurant so no direct connection to Spain or the region of France the Gipsy Kings hail from. One explanation I thought of is that Los Andes is just owned by a fan (like the equivalent of a non-British restaurant having a drink called "Penny Lane" or something) and the same person was testing the speakers.
posted by capricorn to Media & Arts (1 answer total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I would chalk this one up to coincidence, most likely. (Although, y'know, disclaimer that I have no personal knowledge of/experience with Waterfire or the Gipsy Kings (besides hearing their music), and I've only been in Providence a few times, so if an RI-resident MeFite pops up to yea or nay I'd go with them.)

First, here's a listing/playlist of the music used for the May 26 show, and you can see there's a Gipsy Kings song on that playlist. So it seems entirely likely that you just happened to be walking by when that segment of the music program was being tested, or the person testing the audio system picked that tune at random or because they like the Kings (or, heck, they were also eating at Los Andes the night before) - and because you'd just spent an evening having dinner where the Gipsy Kings' music was being played, your brain picked it up because pattern recognition.

The music program for each Waterfire event is selected by Barnaby Evans, who seems to have originated the event back in the early 90's and currently serves as the Executive Artistic Director. He doesn't seem to have any connection with Los Andes, AFAICT.

One explanation I thought of is that Los Andes is just owned by a fan [. . .] and the same person was testing the speakers.

This seems . . . . . highly unlikely to me. Owning (or even managing) a restaurant is usually a more-than-full-time job. Waterfire is clearly a fairly massive undertaking - they have an annual budget of 1.7 million dollars, they have salaried production staff (see this job opening listing (which is looking for people with experience in event audio, among other skills)), and (speaking from experience working similar arts events), anything not handled by the Waterfire production team is most probably contracted out to professional or semi-pro audio and/or lighting production companies, who will have their own technicians operating the equipment.

I mean, it's hardly uncommon that someone in the event production business has a second job to make ends meet, and in small cities it can certainly seem like everyone knows everyone else, but . . . . given the size and complexity of the Waterfire event, the chances of the person in charge of music at Los Andes also being the person testing the speakers during setup for Waterfire would be, IMO, an even greater coincidence than just the basic "my brain which is wired to notice patterns noticed a potential pattern of similar music" situation, triggered by the coincidence of a piece of music for the Waterfire program being by the same artist you'd just heard the day before.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:09 AM on May 30, 2018

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