on 10 February 2009
Novalima have produced a worthy follow up to their landmark Afro album. I couldn't help initially feel a little disappointed by the feeling that Novalima hadn't matched the stylistic continuity of Afro, a sparsely produced and almost haunting affair. After a few listens, I managed to overcome the overwhelming expectation in simply wanting more of the same and appreciate Coba Coba in its own right. The pulsating percussive rhythms of black Peru are prominent throughout, Coba Coba represents a more uptempo yet subtle marriage of the traditional and the modern. Embroided with greater warmth through use of horns, vocals joyously alternate with melodic guitar and brass lines and occasional jazz references are thrown in by way of a refreshing twist.
Whilst there are more immediately accessible standout tracks here than on Afro (Coba Guarango, Se Me Van, Concheperla), I can't help but feel that the true beauty of Novalima is more apparent in the more downtempo arrangements where there's a little more room for the true spirit and adventurous nature of Novalima to shine. There's a greater variation of arrangements here (including a funk infused cameo appearance from Spanish star Gecko Turner and credits to British producer Toni Economides) to appeal to a greater range of sensibilities, possibly making this a better introduction to Novalima. I've still yet to decide whether the sum of the parts of Coba Coba is the equal to Afro but the difference in enjoyment levels is minimal. Hats off to Novalima for again, presenting a refreshing challenge to the musical stereotypes of what Peru has to offer!
For a truly stunning introduction to Afro-Peruvian music in general and informative backdrop to Novalima, I also thoroughly recommend Afro-Peruvian Classics - The Soul of Black Peru, compiled by David Byrne.
on 18 February 2009
Afro-Peruvian outfit Novalima remain true to their roots, yet they're also unafraid to experiment on Coba Coba (Cumbancha), which offers a lithe mix of soul, folk and electronic effects on numbers such as the dreamy, pulsing 'Bolero'. Dub influences are also in full force on the opening track 'Concheperla' and 'Africa Lando', where a moody, deliberate pace complements some seriously powerful lyrics about heritage and slavery. It makes for an assured, vital collection, and it's as immaculately presented (with bilingual sleevenotes) as you'd expect from this excellent label.
Metro, 6th Feb 2009