LIVE: Novalima @ the Music Haven at Proctors, 6/28/15
Photographs by Stanley Johnson
The rain forced the inaugural Music Haven concert of the 2015 season indoors to Proctors’ GE Theatre, but it certainly didn’t dampen the spirits of the crowd, eager to dance to the throbbing grooves of Novalima, as the Peruvian band deftly blended South American musical traditions and contemporary electronica into captivating dance party music.
The concert also showcased the new Local 518 band GX3+ as the openers, an intoxicating fusion of string instrument virtuosos Maria Zemantauski, Sten Isachsen and Ray Andrews with percussionist extraordinaire Brian Melick.
The Music Haven concert series continues in Schenectady’s Central Park at 7pm on Sunday (July 12) with the irresistible Indian dhol-and-brass ensemble Red Baraat, who NPR hailed as “the best party band in years.” Opening the show is the Boston-based, New Orleans-inspired Hot Tamale Brass Band. Admission is free.
Marc Schultz’s photographs at The Daily Gazette
Excerpt from Michael Hochanadel’s review at The Daily Gazette: “Making the very best of a rain-site move from Central Park, Music Haven impresario Mona Golub dubbed the venue Club Music Haven. Right on: It was thrilling, throbbing, irresistible. Novalima’s hybrid Afro-Peruvian-electronica totally filled the space, surpassing sensory overload to achieve the unanimous release Third World sounds seem best able to inspire. The show built in layers from samples that Grimaldo del Solar retrieved from a Mac as at-first disjointed shards of percussion (Juan Medrano Cotito and Constantio Alvarez), synthesizer (Ramon Perez-Preito), guitar (Rafael Morales) and bass (Alfonso Montesinos) coalesced into a beat that seemed to come from everywhere. Lyrics may have mattered most to the many Latinas and Latinos in the throng that surrounded Novalima, and Morales carefully explained in English the mission statement behind ‘Como Yo’ — a tribute to the late band member Manque Vasquez, urging ‘Enjoy life, like me!’ But the beat got to everybody.”
Excerpt from Sara Foss’ review at Thinking It Through: “Novalima does something I really like: mix traditional rhythms and sounds with more contemporary beats and textures. The band’s sound is distinctly south-of-the-border, but with a modern-day edge, thanks to adventurous instrumentation, a willingness to mix genres such as rock and salsa, and bold use of electronics. At times, I wished that the band had incorporated electronics even more, but it’s hard to criticize Novalima’s warm and generous performance. The grooves were tight, upbeat and fierce, anchored by lead singer Rosita Guzman’s powerful voice. This is a band that would be fun to see late at night, at a sweaty dance club. I was very impressed with local band GX3+, who opened the concert. Headed by flamenco guitar player Maria Zemantauski, GX3+ is a quartet that also features the gifted musicians Sten Isachsen, on guitar and mandolin, Ray Andrews, on the lute-like Andean instrument the charango, and percussionist Brian Melick. As a foursome, these musicians sounded incredible, blending flamenco, classical and bluegrass, among other things, into a fresh, vibrant and rich sound. Be sure to check them out, if you get the chance.”