Read our Interview with Afro-Peruvian band Novalima.
On the new Novalima album "Coba Coba" the Peruvian band expand on their acclaimed formula developed over their two previous recordings. Novalimahave created a truly "Latin" album that has a huge crossover appeal. "Coba Coba" is like the soul of South America modernised with a "dance music" edge that doesn't compromise any authenticity. Great modern Peruvian grooves!
The title of the album "Coba Coba" is from an old Afro-Peruvian expression that is used to incite musicians, just like shouting "Go for it!" or "Take it!" to a musician in the midst of a great solo.
Novalima have worked with some special guests on "Coba Coba" including New Zealand nu-jazz keyboardist Mark de Clive Lowe, the popular Cuban hip-hop group ObsesiÃ³n and Spanish alternative rocker Gecko Turner. British producer Toni Economides, a regular collaborator of Nitin Sawhney, Da Lata, Bugz in the Attic and 4Hero among others, adds his special touch on the album's mixes.
We spoke to the band about making the album and world music in general.
Do you think your sound/music reflects the City/Country you live/have lived in?
Actually it reflects the new attitude towards our own culture. For years, most of Peruvians have not been proud of their own heritage, or have not valued our tradition as it should. Only Peruvians living in other countries would have this sort of "patriotism", and mainly because of the nostalgia of living abroad. But, over the last 5 years this has been changing positively due to our economic upturn and definitely it has spread towards our own culture. Our music is much more appreciated locally today than before because we are being an active part of this whole big change. We think Peru itself and its people are going through positive changes which will help improve our country in every aspect, socially, economically, education-wise, etc.
I suppose your life has influenced your music - what experiences do you draw on when writing?
Most of them, actually we try to reflect everyday and ordinary circumstances which may happen to anyone anywhere. The music of Novalima may transmit social, racial, political and even personal issues appealing to a local awareness of what we have and should treasure and as well showing a little bit of what Peru has to give to the rest of world in the near future.
Your band has evolved - what do they bring to your music and how does having new band members affect your writing/sound?
The recordings are made with many musicians which are part of the "Novalima friends", however they are not all necessarily band members. Each musician that participates in our recordings adds a unique element that is part of the end result of each song. If we detect an artist that has a special talent which we want to use, we sometimes even compose according to it. We could say that our music is heavily influenced by every musician that brings their talent to novalima. As for the band members, we started with 5 members and now we are 9 band members. Of course our live sound has evolved much as we have been incorporating more band memebers in these last years..
I think your sound fits in with a global outlook, helped by the internet, where borders are only virtual. Are you excited at the prospect of releasing your music around the world and how do you think the world will take to your music?
We are very exited about being able to document and spread many unique rhythms and untold stories form our native Peru. Our music is certainly a product of many world styles but with an afro peruvian way of interpreting it. In fact, if it wasn't for the internet, and the laptops and sound programs, we would not have been able to achieve the same result for our productions. It is because of this technology that we were able to be in different countries at the same time, and therefore allowing our music to be influenced by the many different musical and cultural trends surrounding us (ie. HK, BCN, UK, Lima). We are very confident this style will achieve a strong position in the array of world styles and the most important for us is that we are spreading music with a good message. A message of friendship and goodwill.
Tell us about your amazing concert in the main public square in Lima?
We were invited by the Major to play the main square to celebrate the 472nd anniversary of Lima city. It was an amazing concert with 30,000 people, where played our best tracks to a rapturous response by Peruvians from all ages and backgrounds, many of whom were discovering for the first time, our updated version of traditional Afro Peruvian music.
Peru has such a rich musical culture a lot of which isn't known about in Europe. Novalimais a great way into this heritage - what else would you consider to be essential listening for someone wanting to explore Peru's musical history?
As you mention there is an immensely rich musical heritage. From the old school, We would recommend listening to Nicomedes Santa Cruz, Lucha Reyes, Sambo Cavero, Oscar Aviles, Caitro Soto, Chocolate, Augusto Polo Campos, Pepe Villalobos, etc. New school: Eva Allyon, Susana Baca, Peru Negro, Sabor y Control, Miki Gonzales, Baretto, La Sarita, La CorporaciÃ³n, Pepe VÃ¡squez, Manongo Mujica, Jean Pierre Magnet, Perujazz, among various.
For more on Novalima and other great artists check out www.cumbancha.com