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David Byrne

How Novalima modernizes and revives Peru's African roots music

How Novalima modernizes and revives Peru's African roots music

Afro-Peruvian music was born of slavery and, over the centuries, has been on the verge of slipping into obscurity on many occasions — overlooked by record labels, shrugged off as marginal. Yet it has always somehow managed to stage unlikely resurgences. It's the sound of the African experience in Peru, with lyrics often emerging from tragedy (think: Peruvian blues). Its rhythms unite the thumping sound of the signature wooden drum known as the cajón with the complex arrangements of the Spanish guitar. The sound is distinct, often as mournful as it is danceable. In its latest incarnation, the Afro-Peruvian sound has reemerged —...

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