Novalima - Coba Coba
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Novalima
Coba Coba
Cumbancha (www.cumbancha.com)

The CD cover image is a clever one, depicting a shadowy guy sitting astride a speaker as though it's a cajon box drum, his hands slapping away and his body angled to suggest he's deeply feeling whatever it is he's jamming to. Pull out the disc and put it on, and you'll find the music fits the picture: it's a mix of the traditions of Afro-Peruvian music (popularized and brought long-overdue respect by the likes of Susana Baca and Peru Negro) with electronic layering that doesn't chill the underlying heat any more than needed. Coba Coba is Novalima's second release, and after providing resounding evidence with their first that it's possible to respectfully give Afro-Peruvian music the electronica treatment, they're now taking the fusion in other welcome directions. A Jamaican dub vibe surfaces here and there, some livelier tempos reach out to a dancefloor crowd more accustomed to the likes of salsa, hip-hop or Latin funk, and songs such as "Africa Lando" leave little doubt that both Eastern and Western Hemisphere sources are going to get their due no matter how modern the production. The percussion (cajon, congas, cowbell, donkey jaw rattles and such) stays high up in the mix along with call-and-response vocals, leaving the electronic effects to work in a subtler manner than is usually the case when traditional music is updated via technology. It's not only the excellence of every track that makes this disc highly recommendable; it's also the fact that Novalima achieves a near-perfect blend of old and new that a good many others could learn from. - Tom Orr


Novalima - Live

CD available from cdroots.com

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