Novalima is a genre-bending Peruvian sensation, known for revolutionizing the music scene of Peru by bringing the music of the minority Afro-Peruvian community into the mainstream culture.
With powerful live performances, the band has gathered an international fan base. Novalima returns to Taos as part of the band's "Ch'usay" album release tour and in celebration of its 15th anniversary.
Seco Live presents the big Latin electronica sounds of Peru's Novalima Thursday (Aug. 2), 6 p.m., at Scott Carlson's Pottery Gallery, 486 State Road 150 in downtown Arroyo Seco, 10 minutes north of Taos.
Tempo recently caught up with Novalima band members Grimaldo del Solar and Rafael Morales by email while they were on the European leg of their world tour.
Tempo: What was the original vision for Novalima? And, how has it evolved over time?
Grimaldo del Solar: Novalima started as a musical experimentation project that mixed traditional styles from the world (e.g. reggae, Cuban son, Brazilian bossa) with electronic music. One of these genres was Afro-Peruvian music, and we really liked the outcome of electronic music and Afro patterns and roots sound instruments like the cajon or the donkey's jaw. This process took us deeper into these Afro-Peruvian rhythmic patterns. Until then it was a studio project, which we later complemented with an eight-piece live band.
Tempo: Please tell me about your new recording "Ch'usay" due out in September. What are some of the musical instruments and sounds featured on the album?
del Solar: For this new album, we decided to go back to our roots in the sense of how we approached composing the new tracks. Basically, we wanted to go back into an experimental process without having any kind of rules or ideas for the outcome. This led to exploring other traditional styles from Peru, such as the Andean music (huaynos) and instruments and Amazon cumbia. We also introduced a lot of ancient instruments like bone whistles, seed rattles and whistling huacos (ceramics from the Incas).
Tempo: Does 2018 mark your 15th anniversary as a band? How are you celebrating?
del Solar: Yes, it's actually the anniversary of the live band. We will be celebrating with a big world tour that will go all the way till summer 2019.
Tempo: What has Novalima been doing so far in 2018? Where have you been touring?
del Solar: We have released "Ch'usay," the first single of the upcoming album (also called "Ch'usay") and embarked on our 15-year anniversary tour which started with a couple of dates in Peru (the jungle festival in Oxapampa and a tour kick off in Lima) to continue with a European leg that took us to Madrid, Vienna, London, Geneva, Berlin and Lagrasse. In the following days we will be releasing a video for "Ch'usay" (the single) and continue with the U.S. leg of the tour that will coincide with the release of the second single.
Tempo: Who is in the band, and what instruments do they play? Will all the band members be coming to Taos?
del Solar: Rafael Morales (guitar), Ramon Perez (keys), Constantino Alvarez (timbales and cajon), Alfonso Montesinos (bass), Juan Medrano Cotito (cajon and vocals), Grimaldo del Solar (beats and sequencers) and Milagros Guerrero (lead vocals). Yes, all of them will be in Taos.
Tempo: What do you have planned for your Taos show? What can people expect to hear?
del Solar: As always, we will create this huge party with the crowd. We will also be playing two songs from the upcoming album and older songs that we have not performed live before.
Tempo: Anything else?
Rafael Morales: The name of the new album "Ch'usay" means "voyage" in Quechua (the language of the Incas). On "Ch'usay," the first single, the lyrics are sung in Quechua, and feature for the first time two amazing guests. They are vocalist Sylvia Falcon, who sings classical style in the school of Yma Sumac (a 1950s exotica superstar), and Liberato, a rapper from Cuzco who must be the only known MC in the world who raps in Quechua! Truly unique.
The concert is free and open to all ages. Donations are appreciated. For more information, email email@example.com or visit secolive.org. For information on the artists, visit novalima.net.