San Francisco (California), USA –
With their first international release,
Afro (distributed in the US through Quango Music Group), the four Lima-based producers known as Novalima give
the sonically rich history of Peru new life, using brilliantly subtle
electronic textures, warm bass tones and drums to create a percussive
masterpiece that moves effortlessly between conventional organic
roots music and progressive digital sounds.
One could even say that Novalima
has gone as far as creating their very own genre by manipulating traditional
instruments such as the native cajon, quijada, and congas to compliment
programmed beats, funk-inspired bass lines, and contemporary piano melodies.
Perhaps the most enchanting aspect of Novalima however, is not just their
forward thinking approach, but their firm insistence on musical authenticity
despite their use of more modern techniques.
At its core, Afro is a tribute to the centuries-old slave songs of Africans forcefully brought to the Americas. Taking the lyrics of these songs –comparable to the soulful spirituals and gospel Africans would create in America – and reinterpreting them through digital means, Novalima educates two crowds simultaneously: those interested in learning about the rich and tumultuous history of Peruvian land and its people, and those seeking fresh dance music.
Take for instance “Zamba Lando,” a modern rendering of the Lando style. Originally conceived in cotton fields, it is a perfect example of the cross-pollination of forms across continents. Much like gospel, it’s a style that takes the deep blues of slavery and transforms the energy into uplifting, at times even erotic music. Novalima’s take is equally inspired, fueled by a bouncing bass line and staccato keyboard effects. The opening “Chinchivi” is another chant-based track, beautifully layered with a soft, melodic undertone. Melody remains constant even amid the more upbeat dance floor kinetics of “Candela” and “Alcajazz,” the latter featuring some serious ivory tinkling.
The brainchild of producers Ramón Pérez Prieto, Rafael Morales, Carlos Li Carrillo and Grimaldo del Solar, Afro – an abbreviation of Afro-Peru/Afro-Peruvian – is not limited to the land itself. Recorded in Lima, London, Rio de Janeirio, Hong Kong and Barcelona, this band is the very definition of “world” culture. Employing a host of important names in Peruvian music for the recording such as legends Nicomedes Santa Cruz, Lucila Campos, Lucha Reyes and Zambo Cavero, Novalima spans generations as easily as terrain.