On 'Karimba,' Peruvian Band Melds World Sounds

The band Novalima is undeniably Peruvian, but the music on their new album Karimba is infused with sounds from around the world including dub, salsa and club music.

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The band Novalima was founded by four high school friends in the Peruvian capital, Lima. After school, they went their separate ways as far afield as London and Hong Kong. But they returned in 2003 and used their experiences to inject a world sound into Peruvian music. Novalima's latest album is called "Karimba." Banning Eyre has this review.

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BANNING EYRE, BYLINE: Novalima position their music within the vast and varied universe of African Diaspora pop. Many of their songs grow specifically out of Afro-Peruvian melodies and rhythms, but they also link up with dub, Afrobeat, reggae, salsa and the great swirl of techno club beats pulsing from every city in the world these days. This is Peruvian music, but with eyes and ears wide open to global connections.

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NOVALIMA: (Singing in foreign language)

EYRE: This sort of rootsy, organic techno-pop fits into a global trend that's transformed dance floors everywhere in recent years. The challenge is to maintain a distinct identity amid all the blending. That's why Novalima leans so hard on recognizably Peruvian sounds, like the slow, pendulous Afro-Peruvian dance groove known as lando.

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NOVALIMA: (Singing in foreign language)

EYRE: This piece, "Guayabo," has a strong flavor of Afro-Cuban music.

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NOVALIMA: (Singing in foreign language)

EYRE: The fuzzy slap of the cajon box drum and the rattle of loose teeth and the dried jawbone of a donkey, these are Peruvian innovations once again putting a local stamp on a borrowed sound. The layers of association can be dense on "Karimba," but the sound remains open and uncluttered. Even in its most tranced out, club-ready crescendos, the music of Novalima breathes. It's a pleasure to travel the world with these cool and savvy global music maestros.

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NOVALIMA: (Singing in foreign language)

CORNISH: Banning Eyre is senior editor at afropop.org. He reviewed "Karimba" by Novalima.

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NOVALIMA: (Singing in foreign language spoken)

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