Tonino Baliardo is the lead guitarist for Gipsy Kings, a New Flamenco group from France that has sold more than 18 million albums worldwide. He was born in Montpellier.
Most Gipsy Kings albums have 3-5 instrumental cuts - all written entirely by Baliardo; he also co-writes their vocal numbers. After his 2001 solo debut, Essences, Baliardo released an instrumental album under his own name in 2003, all his own originals.
"Tonino is the most creative person in the band," said Chico Bouchikhi, a former member who co-wrote their biggest hit to date, "Bamboléo". "He has lots of ideas and a great imagination. He used to go to school with his guitar."
Baliardo - like his bandmates - does not read or write music, he said in a 2007 behind-the-scenes video about their album Pasajero. They developed their styles from a lifetime of playing, and years learning from the generations that came before and contributed so much to flamenco music.