Novalima | Mayne Stage | International | Chicago Reader

Novalima 18+ Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard Recommended

When: Fri., July 6, 10 p.m. 2012

Lately it seems like no style of traditional music is safe from an infusion of jacked-up club beats—Argentina's ZZK Club has hijacked cumbia, Ojos de Brujo add breakbeats and rhymes to flamenco, DJ and producer Shantel samples Balkan brass bands, and so on. Novalima started out in 2001 with similar ideas about marrying the traditional and the modern, using as raw material old-school Afro-Peruvian songs made famous by the likes of Nicomedes Santa Cruz, Chabuca Granda, Susana Baca, and Eva Ayllon—defiant, bittersweet music that sprang from an oppressed minority brought to the continent via the slave trade. But their fusion has always been more meaningful and substantial than the typical remix treatment, and on their third album, Karimba (ESL Music), they've developed a solid rapport with the tradition-minded musicians who form the band's regular team of ringers. The heavy grooves laid down by Novalima's four founders—who write many of the songs, play guitar, keyboards, and bass, and program beats that borrow from hip-hop, techno, and reggae—never overwhelm the hand percussion, the acoustic guitar licks, or the soulful, throaty vocals of Milagros Guerrero. In fact, all the elements blend perfectly: the new album complements the club beats with bits of Afro-Cuban music ("Diablo"), cumbia (a seriously bumping remix of "Macaco" by Afro-Columbian singer Batata), and funk ("A Pañar Algodon"), and the sensual melodies and powerful, melancholy feel of the band's root Afro-Peruvian sound always shine through. —Peter Margasak

Price: $20

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