Novalima Goes Next-Level at Grand Central January 7

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When listening to Novalima, fans will find many similarities between this modern Afro-Peruvian group and the highly percussive sounds heard every night in Calle Ocho's nightclubs.

After all, both Peru and Cuba have a long history of blending the music of formerly enslaved Africans with the drums of the native people to create something completely fresh yet still somewhat familiar.

Not to mention, the two countries' sonic scenes have cross-pollinated for decades, ever since the mambo explosion of the mid-'50s. One classic example: The late queen of salsa Celia Cruz made a hit out of "El Toro Mata," a composition by Lima-born Maria Chabuca Granda.

That said, Novalima isn't about rehashing the old. The band -- Ramon Perez-Prieto, Grimaldo Del Solar, Rafael Morales, and Carlos Li Carrillo -- takes its music to a different level by incorporating contemporary elements like hip-hop, electronica, and even samba to create new textures.

Adding unexpected ingredients to the mix, Novalima revitalizes the near-forgotten Afro-Peruvian tradition and reintroduces it to a younger audience that will hopefully take the time to discover where it all came from in the first place.

--Ernest Barteldes

Novalima with Afro Kumbe. Friday, January 7. Grand Central, 697 N. Miami Ave., Miami. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets cost $20 in advance via fla.vor.us. Call 305-672-5202 or visit rhythmfoundation.com.

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