Novalima brings jacked-up Afro-Peruvian grooves to Rogers Park tonight | Bleader

Novalima brings jacked-up Afro-Peruvian grooves to Rogers Park tonight


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  • Novalima
Club-friendly Afro-Peruvian crew Novalima returns to Chicago tonight to close out a U.S. tour with a show at Mayne Stage in Rogers Park; the group last visited in 2009, when it played Pritzker Pavilion as part of the Music Without Borders series. Formed a decade ago when its four members were scattered around the globe—London, Hong Kong, Barcelona—Novalima has built a sound around the sort of traditional songs also favored by the likes of Eva Ayllon and Susana Baca, who are both among the many important artists recently featured on the excellent vinyl-only collection The Rhythms of Black Peru (Secret Stash).

In September the group will release its third album, Karimba, on ESL Music—the label owned and run by members of Thievery Corporation. The new material is in the same vein as the old, but considering how thoughtful and sharp Novalima has always been, I see no reason to complain about that. The band enhances traditional forms and instrumentation with modern production (guitar, bass, programmed beats, and keyboards alongside thumping cajon and a froth of auxiliary percussion—congas, bongos, timbales, cajita). I haven't found anyone who can confirm who's currently singing with the band, but the throaty vocals on Karimba are terrific—I'm guessing it's still Milagros Guerrero and Juan Medrano "Cotito," who both appeared on 2009's Coba Coba (Cumbancha). As usual, Novalima stretches its sound to incorporate other styles—hip-hop, reggae, Cuban son, funk, and (on "Macaco") some old-school clarinet-fronted cumbia. Below you can hear "Festejo," the opening track from the forthcoming album.

Novalima, "Festejo":

Today's playlist:

Elisa Randazzo, Bruises & Butterflies (Drag City)
Dave King, Indelicate (Sunnyside)
Lee Konitz New Quartet, Live at the Village Vanguard (Enja)
John Hébert Trio, Spiritual Lover (Clean Feed)
Philip Jeck, An Ark for the Listener (Touch)

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