Poets of the street, dancers of the soul, the nine-member Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra combines Afro-Colombian percussion with a full Balkan-style brass section, traditional Roma-style fiddle, and choreographed dance & circus moves. Touring the globe from their base in Montreal, the JUNO-nominated GKO (honored for their first album “Revuelta Danza Party”) entertains in French, Spanish and English. The upshot: “We dance, and we will make your body and your mind dance in overwhelmingly beautiful ways,” promises the band, whose motto is “The impossible becomes possible!”
GKO leader, percussionist and vocalist Sebastian Mejia is a Colombian refugee who settled in London, Ontario in 1999. He learned to play percussion at Catholic Central Secondary School before moving to Montreal where he and co-founder Carmen Ruiz formed the Orchestra in 2012.
When they first arrived in Montreal, Carmen and Sebastian considered themselves “travelers and (nomads),” which is why they are particularly interested in displaced people, such as the Roma of Europe. They find in them “a lot of this delirious energy, this desire for freedom that we share and try to transmit (in our celebrations).”