9:30 Club presents at U Street Music Hall - Early Show
Coba Sound System
1115 U Street NW
Washington, DC, 20009
Started by four friends from Lima with a shared passion for traditional Afro-Peruvian
music and global DJ culture, Novalima stands in the common ground bridging past and
future, uniting tradition and innovation.
From their humble start, file-sharing musical ideas and producing their first album in
separate countries at the dawn of the internet, Novalima is now a live musical force
revered worldwide for breaking boundaries and uniting seemingly irreconcilable genres,
communities, and generations. They have created an inspiring movement and
revolutionized the music scene in their native Peru by bridging a longstanding divide
between the mainstream and the minority Afro-Peruvian community, who have
struggled against discrimination and cultural dissolution for generations.
During their career, Novalima has garnered worldwide critical acclaim from mainstream
(NPR, UK Guardian, Wall Street Journal, La Presse, Metro, Billboard) and
underground media (Giant Step, Remezcla, Sounds & Colors, Nat Geo) alike,
delivered legendary performances around the world at festivals such as Roskilde,
WOMAD, Pirineos Sur, NYC Central Park, Montreal Jazz Festival and Chicago’s
Millennium Park, earned a Latin Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Album,
and were featured in cult filmmaker Robert Rodriguez’s hit Mexploitation movie
While their sound is futuristic and cutting-edge, the roots of Novalima’s music reach
back hundreds of years. In a far-too familiar tale, African slaves were brought to Peru
as early as the 1500s until the middle of the 19th Century, establishing an outpost of
the African-Diaspora on the Pacific coast of South America. Over the years, the soul
and rhythms of Africa melded with the melodies and instruments of Europe and the
Andes. The result is rich musical repertoire that existed for generations on the
periphery of Peruvian popular culture.
The founders of Novalima, Ramon Perez-Prieto, Grimaldo Del Solar, Rafael
Morales, and Carlos Li Carrillo, became friends and started playing together in Lima
during their high school years, playing a pivotal part in the 80s underground hardcore
punk, and the 90s psychedelic/acid-rock scenes. As children of artists and
intellectuals, Ramon, Grimaldo, Rafael and Carlos were well educated and well
traveled, and while they listened to traditional Peruvian folk music regularly in family eunions and in the street, they relentlessly explored new sounds in Rock, Dub
Reggae, Latin and Electronic Music, which became grounds for their own discovery.
During their early experimentations blending Afro-Peruvian sounds with electronica, the
four founders were living in different parts of the world. From their homes in London,
Barcelona, Hong Kong, and Lima, they emailed song ideas to each other. These
long-distance recordings resulted in their 2002 debut album, the self-titled Novalima.
The reception to the album exceeded their wildest expectations, eventually reaching
platinum sales status in Peru, and for their next album they invited more Afro-Peruvian
musicians to join their recording sessions. The outcome was Afro, an album that was
released worldwide in 2006 to tremendous acclaim and put Novalima on the
international music map. The London Metro Evening Standard raved, “Novalima has
more than succeeded in bringing the spirit and soul of Peruvian blues into the 21st
century.” Afro held the #1 spot on the US College Music Journal Latin Alternative
and New World Radio Charts for ten weeks combined.
Soon after Afro was released, the founders returned to Lima and invited top AfroPeruvian
musicians to join Novalima making it a true band, setting the groundwork for
live musical creation and intensive global touring.
On their 2009 album Coba Coba, released on the acclaimed world music label
Cumbancha, Novalima expanded the critically-acclaimed formula they developed and
took their inspiring fusion in new and exciting directions by delving further into the
African diaspora and bringing influences from reggae, dub, salsa, hip-hop, afrobeat
and Cuban son. In anticipation of the band’s acclaimed 2009 US and European tour,
they released Coba Coba Remixed, featuring exclusive remixes by top DJs and
producers including Da Lata, Zeb, Faze Action, Seiji, Boozou Bajou, Haaksman, and
more. At the same time, a stunning music video for the band’s song “Coba Guarango”
was featured on the homepage of YouTube and quickly amassed well over 100,000
plays in 24 hours.
After two years of constant touring, the band gathered in their home studio in Lima to
record and mix the album Karimba that took Novalima's sound into new places. They
introduced both new sounds and traditional rhythms like the Panalivio, Zamacueca,
Ingá and Tondero, while maintaining their distinctive afro and dub sound. Their
reputation at home allowed them to work with the top traditional musicians in the city,
inviting vocalists Pepe Vasquez, Rosita Guzman, and Sofia Buitron as well as
guitarists Roberto Arguedas and Felix Casaverde (former guitarist of Chabuca
Granda), in addition to members of the live band.
Karimba was released on ESL Music (Thievery Corporation) and garnered astounding
accolades from NPR, Giant Step, Nat Geo Music and more, while also topping the Tunes World Music Chart and cracking the Top 10 Billboard World Music Chart.
After the release, Novalima embarked on a worldwide tour that took them to stages in
USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and Latin American throughout 2012 - 2014.
In 2013 the band released Karimba Diabolic Remixes, through Brooklyn’s
Wonderwheel Recordings, hand selecting some of their favorite remixers including
Seiji (UK), Da Lata (UK), Jeremy Sole (US), DJ Smash (US), DJ Sabo (US),
Thievery Corporation’s Rob Garza, Nickodemus, and more to re-interpret Karimba
with their own vision.
During 2014 and 2015 Novalima recorded their newest album, Planetario slated for
release on Wonderwheel Recordings on June 16th. The album's name points to
Novalima's continued growth and many international connections – much of the album
was recorded on tour when they collaborated with top local and international musicians.
There is a strong connection to Colombia created through a remarkable recording
session in Bogota organized by members of La-33 including Sidestepper vocalist Eka
Muñoz, Pernett and La Mamba Negra. The album also brings in artists from around
the world such as Marc de Clive Lowe (UK/NZ), Panko from Ojos de Brujo, and
Kumar (Cuban rapper based in BCN).
Remixes from the Planetario are already under way with Bomba Estéreo, Quantic
and Nickodemus lined up to put their spin on these new tracks.
Novalima has designed a brand new live show that will debut in Lima as part of the
country's celebration of 100 years of Afro-Peruvian culture. The band will tour
worldwide starting this June.