- Category : Entertain-Music-Composer/Arranger
- Type : PSP
- Profile : 5/1 - Heretical / Investigator
- Definition : Split - Small (20)
- Incarnation Cross : LAX The Clarion 2
French pop singer and musician who founded the Gypsy Kings and then Chico and the Gypsies. An adopted gypsy, he became their spokesman and protector of their traditions. He was appointed as an international ambassador for peace by UNESCO.
Djeloul was definitely not cut out for school. That frustrated his father, Mohammed Bouchikhi, and his mother. His teachers described him as "intelligent but untamable." Their life was like that of most immigrant North African families living in French municipal housing estates. When the Bouchikhi family set up their home in a municipal block in the Griffeuille neighborhood, Djeloul came in contact with the children of the most famous gypsy in Arles, Jose Reyes. Jose Reyes lived in a caravan, like all gypsies, and camped in the Bouchikhi's neighborhood. But his exceptional voice had made him one of the most famous gypsies in France and in the world, as he played with his cousin, the famous guitarist Manitas de Plata, in some of the most prestigious halls in the world.
The 12-year-old Bouchikhi, alias Chico, befriended one of the Reyes boys his own age and entered the Reyes family. The rebel of the Bouchikhi family would spend his days at the Reyes encampment. Reyes senior immediately accepted him as one of his own. Being with the Reyeses was like being with the Bouchikhis, with the addition of freedom and music. He picked up a guitar one day when he was 17 and started to play for fun. Not long after, Chico became aware of the talents that he and the Reyes family possessed, and he set about turning them into their good fortune.
Every summer he organized caravan trips to Saint Tropez to play on the beaches for the celebrities and the idle rich. He formed a band, "Los Reyes," and won the hearts of the wealthy and famous. Los Reyes went beyond Saint Tropez to entertain kings, princes and superstars throughout the world. But at the end of every trip they found themselves back on the beach with nothing but the lost illusions of a promising future.
With Los Reyes, he discovered his abilities as a musician and a composer. He was the musical director, manager, spokesman and the one who looked after every last detail of their everyday lives. In 1983, confident of their imminent triumph, Chico decided to rename the group Gypsy Kings. The name change caused three lean years during which they became more disheartened. In 1986, the Reyes brothers went back to their ordinary lives. Chico was already on the lookout for a new project. In 1988, Chico met French Culture Minister Jack Land, and from that meeting was born a great friendship, along with the project to create the gypsy and Romany Mosaic Festival, dedicated to promoting gypsy music. In 1989, they sold three million albums and the "Gypsy Kings" received 15 gold albums for their works. The group had been managed since 1986 by Claude Martinez, but he and Chico fell out in 1991and Chico left the group. Chico and his brothers-in-law (Chico married Jose Reyes’ daughter Marthe) went to court over the use of the group’s name.
In 1991, Chico experienced a series of very challenging events. In addition to losing the Gypsy Kings, he lost his baby and his father. He recovered and started a new group, Chico and The Gypsies, with young gypsy musicians from Arles and Montpellier. As producer, artistic director and musician, he is re-creating the international hits of the early years but is not resting on his laurels. He is also writing new pieces, still with a gypsy flavor but more influenced by the wide variety of Romany music than before. As holder of the title of the protector of gypsy culture, Chico has set up the "El Patio" center for all the world's gypsy travelers to meet.
In September 1994, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) invited the group to take part in a gala event in Oslo to mark the first anniversary of the Arab-Israeli peace signing. Yasser Arafat and Shimon Peres went on stage to greet the artist afterwards. This event allowed Chico to feel forgiveness for the death of his older brother, Ahmed, who had been mistakenly killed by the Mossad in Norway when Chico was just 18. In 1995 after hearing the story of Chico and his brother’s death, Frederico Mayor appointed Chico as UNESCO special peace envoy. His role is to organize cultural events to meet the needs of deprived peoples, including the 50th anniversary of UNESCO.
Among the gypsies, music is handed down from father to son. It is the only inheritance parents have to give and the only homage children can make to their gypsy heritage and to their family. Jose Reyes handed over the leadership of the family and its music to Chico at his deathbed. Chico’s children are following in his footsteps. Reda is Chico's eldest. He left school early to follow his music. Tonino-Nabil is next. Myriam recorded her first record at nine with two other little gypsies, a girl cousin and the son of a friend.