Poets of the street, dancers of the soul, the JUNO-nominated Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra combine Afro-Colombian percussion with a full Balkan-style brass section, traditional Roma-style fiddle and a dance troupe to unleash the perfect “creative chaos” for a TD Sunfest Park party. Touring the globe from their base in Montreal, the GKO entertains in French, Spanish and, occasionally, English. The upshot: “We dance, and we will make your body and your mind dance in overwhelmingly beautiful ways,” promises the band.
Led by former Londoner Sebastian Meijia (born in Colombia and now living in Montreal), Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra’s first album, Revuelta Danza Party, was well received by the public and critics alike, spending weeks in the Top 10 chart position on CIBL (Montreal’s Francophone community radio station). This recording perfectly exemplifies the band’s stirring and whimsical contemporary music that builds upon the roots of many established styles.
Jeff Heinrich of The Montreal Gazette described one of GKO’s hometown performances as “like watching a Sunday tam-tam session on the mountain, but with horns. Nine musicians, three young women dancing ‘gypsy-style’ in long flowing colorful dresses, the oom-pah-pah of a tuba and glissando shrieks of a fiddle and the wail of a clarinet in the summer heat”.
Formed just three years ago by Girovago productions, the 16-piece GKO has already racked up over 140 performance dates, including festivals across Ontario, Québec, Eastern Canada, Colombia and parts of France. They have shared the stage with Lemon Bucket Orkestra (Lees Palace, T.O.), Roma Carnivale (C2Mtl) and Orkestar Kriminal (Le Lion D'Or), and played a monthly sold-out night at Sala Rossa in Montreal. In addition to their constantly evolving musical dance show, this hardworking collective has developed three distinct stage performances: Makondo: the Gypsies arrive, Melkiades: the Power-Fool, and a children’s show, No King in the Jungle.