King Coya

King Coya, from the Northern Argentine Andes, is the digitalized, imaginary version of Gaby Kerpel, who blends traditional Colombian cumbia and Argentine folklore with electronic music.

Gaby Kerpel is a renowned Argentine composer whose credits include the score to De La Guarda and Fuerza Bruta and a soundtrack on Island Records of the same. Cumbias de Villa Donde is a collection of original down-tempo, electro folklorica that bridges indigenous music out of South America with global dance. Through King Coya, Gaby Kerpel reinterprets classic Colombian and Peruvian cumbias in the Zizek sound. The album includes guest appearances from Grammy-nominated Petrona Martinez and the renowned Cucu Diamantes. It’s the kind of record that redefines world music, allowing the listener a personal stake in audio globe trotting: King Coya’s music is both accessible and timeless, taking you home to the Andes mountains and beyond.

King Coya tracks came out of live sets at Zizek Club, performing in front of dancing crowds in Buenos Aires. With Cumbias de Villa Donde, his vision of cumbia and electro folklorica is an original take on the genres, in the Zizek spirit, where world music hits the global dance scene. Rich, layered compositions blend new world with old, the East and the West, in an exercise in digital cross-global pollination that has made the Zizek sound famous.

Coya is a term used in Northern Argentina, referring to a local in a yarn cap, reserved in nature and small in stature, playing an instrument like the charango; the mini guitar used in Argentine folk music. Gaby, through King Coya, has made himself into the purveyor of laid-back, electro-folk infused with cumbia, hip hop, and reggae, enriched by voices from diverse global regions, while maintaining the flavor of South America. King Coya’s ZZK Records release takes the traditional sound of the Andes and gives it space to reach into new realms and take risks. The result is songs like "El Hueso + Niño que llora en los montes de Maria", where soulful Petrona Martinez gets reinvented for a multitude of whirling dancers. Some celebrated artists included on the album are Axel Krygier, La Yegros and Gato Muñoz. King Coya also reinvents Lulacruza, Los Tucanes de Tijuana and Tremor in his signature style.

About the Artist

Gaby Kerpel has a long relationship with alternative folklorica, having brought the genre to the theater first with the De La Guarda production and later with FuerzaBruta. His music has graced stages in Buenos Aires, New York, London, Las Vegas, Mexico City, Montreal, Belgrade, Zurich, Tokyo, Berlin, Amsterdam, Seoul, Sydney, Milan, Moscow, Sao Paulo, Tel Aviv, Lisbon, Valencia, Madrid, Istanbul, Monterrey and Bogotá. He partnered with British producer Howie B on the second De La Guarda record, released in 2001, and in 2003 he released a solo album, Carnabailito, on Nonesuch Records in Argentina. Carnabailito took him to Los Angeles and then to New York where he worked on the live show before returning to BA to work on Fuerza Bruta in 2005.

In 2007 he redesigned his live performance by taking on King Coya at Zizek Club in Buenos Aires. Shortly after, he performed in New York on the Zizek Collective SXSW tour that debuted the Zizek sound internationally, along with label mates El Trip Selector, Tremor and El Remolón in an electro-folklorica sound system.

King Coya came out of a desire to play a live show that could be flexible, mobile, and back to basics. As a composer, Gaby Kerpel is at present collaborating with Oscar-winner Gustavo Santaoalla. As King Coya, he’s plotting a course with a fresh sound, both on stage and on record, and growing it into his own.