Tuesday, October 27, 2009

KING COYA-Cumbias de Villadonde (Nacional Records, 2009)

King Coya is one of the few Zizek Collective members that I haven't met personally, so I don't know too much about him. I do know that King Coya is the alter-ego of Gaby Kerpel, who way before the whole neo-cumbia thing was already an accomplished musician in Buenos Aires underground.
Unlike most other neo-cumbia artists who started as hip-hop or electronica DJ's (or reggae, or punk musicians) the King started updating Argentine folklore with new technologies in the form of artsy, experimental, ambient music and that took him to traditional cumbia.
Hence, his approach to cumbia is way more respectful than the norm, avoiding the hipster-irony tongue-in-cheek sense of humor that I like so much about this movement.
In fact you could divide the neo-cumbia scene in two: on one side the mash-up or cut-n-paste (or whatever) low-brow artists who make fun of modern cumbia's inner tackiness and make music that's mostly fun and dance-floor oriented (Fauna, Toy Selectah, Kumbia Queers, The Peronists, Fantasma, M.I.S., etc.); on the other side the ones who dig deep into Colombia's cumbia tradition and approach it from a thirdworldist perspective with artsy results in a downtempo or minimalist techno format (Lulacruza, Axel Krygier, Tremor, Doña María, etc). King Coya is like the king of the second group, his cumbias are beautiful and trippy, but they completely ignore the tacky Argentine cumbia context, focusing mostly on the folkloric roots of the genre. Even though the title of the album includes the word "villa" (Argentine slang for slums) this might be misguiding because there is absolutely no "villa" aesthetic or attitude in these cumbias.
Anyway, this album also includes some previously released material like "Cumbiatrón" from ZZK Sound Vol.1 and the Petrona Martínez remix of ZZK Sound Vol.2. There's also a remix of Lulacruza and one of the Yerba Buena hit "El Burrito" in the CuCu Diamantes version with Los Tucanes de Tijuana that was released as a single a couple of years ago. From the new, previously unreleased material, my favorites are ""Solo" and "Trocitos de Madera".

Available on emusic, itunes, amazon, etc.

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