Illya Kuryaki and the Valderramas (IKV) is a musical duo, Dante Spinetta and Emmanuel Horvilleur, from Buenos Aires, Argentina, that formed in 1991. The duo split in 2001 to follow solo careers, but later played on stage several times, and officially reunited in 2011. The duo took their name from a fictional character, the Russian spy, Illya Kuryakin, in the hit 1960s TV show, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and the Colombian football player, Carlos Valderrama. Their musical style is extremely wide-ranging, including hip-hop, rock, funk, and salsa.
The duo met as children as a result of the friendship between their parents. Dante is the son of music legend, Luis Alberto Spinetta, and Emmanuel's father is photographer, Eduardo Marti. In 1987, at age 12 and 11 years respectively, Dante, Emmanuel, and younger siblings formed a music group called Pechugo, which was a rocker version of Menudo. Pechugo dissolved one year later, and the duo decided to form Illya Kuryaki and The Valderramas.
Fabrico cuero (1991-1992) (I make leather)
In 1991 they released their first album entitled Fabrico cuero, which combines rap, synthesized sounds, catchy melodies and ironic lyrics. Although public media initially suggested their popularity came from their family connections rather than their musical skills, that changed when renowned musician Charly García invited them to play at one of his shows to perform Fabrico cuero and Rap del exilio. They shared the stage with Luis Alberto Spinetta in Venezuela. In 1991 they were voted as la Revelación (best newcomers) in the Clarín newspaper.
Horno para calentar los mares (1993-1994) (Oven to warm up the seas)
In 1993, sales allowed them their second album, much harder than the previous one, with a new record label, PolyGram. It contains No Way Jose and Virgen de riña. Despite having evolved musically, this album was not widely distributed. The album features Tweety González.
With their savings they went on to record what would be their most successful album, Chaco. They chose to create their own record label, Gigolo Productions. Chaco sold over 250,000 copies. The album was chosen by "Rolling Stone" magazine in Argentina as one of the best rock productions of the country. The single from the album, Abarájame, received the Latin MTV Award for Best Latin MTV Video of the Year in 1996. According to band members "Chaco is a summary of what happened to us musically and socially in recent times. The record suggests a new state of mind in which there is no place for discrimination or oppression." The name comes from Chaco, which is one of the few provinces in Argentina where aboriginals still live. At this point they began to show their love of martial arts in their videos.
MTV Unplugged Ninja Mental (1996)
They performed different versions of well-known songs and included two new ones, this gave birth to Versus.
Working in the U.S., the fifth studio album was recorded at Ocean Recording Studios, Burbank, and Battery Studios, New York, leaning more to soul music and funk music. It was mastered at Sony Studios, New York and mixed at Battery Studios, New York. The result was a wonderfully crafted album. The first cut was "Expedición al Klama Hama". In 1998, the album's second cut, "Jugo", was nominated for best group video and best alternative video at the MTV Latino Music Awards. The album is very multicultural, musically speaking, as their sounds range from rock, funk, hip hop to ballads.
Leche (1999-2000) (Milk)
Leche was loaded with African-American music and funk. Songs speak of doom and the end of the millennium. This record was distributed in Mexico. The album features American bass player Bootsy Collins who introduces himself saying "my name is Bootsy Collins, old woman!" Leche was nominated for Rock Album at the first annual Latin Grammy Awards (eligibility year of Jan. 1, 1999, through March 31, 2000).
This album includes new versions of old tracks, remixes and hits of their career, plus four new tracks. The tragic death of the duo's friend and manager, José Luis Miceli, who died in a car crash in early 2000 had a big impact on them. The album, Kuryakistan, was dedicated to him and included the songs, A-dios and Hermano as a personal homage, as well as cover version of Queen's classic song, Another One Bites the Dust. A New York Times article considered the music to be "surreal poetry, full of rebelliousness, death and raunchy transfiguration", and mentioned that in the lyrics of Jennifer del Estero, "Jennifer Lopez leaves her derriere in the singer's freezer."
The band split in 2001 but later reunited.
After 11 years, the duo had split in 2001. Both Dante and Emmanuel continued solo music performer careers. Emmanuel focused on a rock and pop-rock sound, while Dante preferred hip-hop.
They played on stage together at the Vive Latino Festival 2008. On 24 April 2009, they also reunited as the opening act of the Puerto Rican duo Calle 13 at the G.E.B.A. stadium in Buenos Aires.(and other ref)
They officially reunited in 2011. They participated in the musical festival, Mundo Invisible, in December 2011.Chances was released by Sony (check) in 2012, and includes the song, Águila Amarilla, for Dante's father, Luis Alberto Spinetta, who died during the recording of this album.
"Ula Ula" featuring Raquel Sophia was used in a USA Target supermarket commercial. Target's Height of Summer ad had become so catchy that even Oprah Winfrey Tweeted that she could not stop singing it. At the Latin Grammy Awards of 2013 it won "Best Urban Song."
The musical style of Illya Kuryaki and the Valderramas has always been hard to precisely categorize, as it is extremely wide-ranging. It encompasses soul, funk, hip-hop and other African-American rhythms, as well as rock, reggaeton, alternative, electronica, heavy metal and rap metal. The Miami Herald placed them within the "wilder side of rock en español".