King Hippo

Alejandro Ayala is a curator, organizer, educator, and dedicated Chicagoan. Known to many by his DJ name King Hippo, Ayala hosts shows on Lumpen Radio (105.5 FM Chicago) and the globally-distributed QC Radio program on Gilles Peterson's Worldwide FM. For two decades he's been a highly active event producer & promoter, responsible for the long-standing Fresh Roasted series at The Whistler, the annual Preservation of Fire series, the legendary CHICAGOxLONDON showcase at London's Total Refreshment Centre, the DALLASxCHICAGO interstate artist exchange at Sleeping Village in 2018, the Chicago debut of Grammy-winning Australian prog-soul band Hiatus Kaiyote at The Double Door in 2014, and innumerable one-off events for myriad artists across Chicago's diverse landscape of venues (including Elastic Arts, Co-Prosperity, Transition East, Empty Bottle, and many more). Ayala has worked as an instructor for After School Matters, for whom he designed a unique 'Event Planning & Production' curriculum. Currently Ayala works as Head of Communication + Community for the International Anthem record label, where he's been a creative engineer behind album campaigns for Damon Locks' Black Monument Ensemble, jaimie branch, and Junius Paul, in addition to acting as photographer-in-residence (his photographs of Angel Bat Dawid have been published by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Rolling Stone), and co-producing three albums by Makaya McCraven. In 2021 the Chicago Reader profiled Ayala as a Chicagoan of Note.