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NOVALIMA and LADAMA with DJ Don Cuco

  • The Cedar Cultural Center 416 Cedar Avenue South Minneapolis, MN, 55454 United States (map)

The Cedar Presents

NOVALIMA and LADAMA with DJ Don Cuco

Sunday, November 17th, 2019 / Doors: 7:00pm / Show: 7:30pm

Standing Show

$18 Advance / $20 Day of Show

This is a standing show with an open floor. To request seating or other access accommodations, please go to our Access page.

General Admission tickets are available online, by phone, Electric Fetus, and at The Cedar during shows.


Since its formation in 2001, Novalima has been breaking down boundaries, uniting seemingly irreconcilable genres, communities and generations to create an inspiring movement that has revolutionized the music scene in their native Peru. 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. 

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 reunions 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.

Taking a year off from touring during 2017, Novalima went back in the studio to explore and experiment with new sounds from Peru. This time around, the influences came not only from its African heritage but also from the exploration of ancient sounds, languages and instruments from the Andes and the Amazon. On this newest album called Ch’usay (Voyage in Quechua, the native language of the Inkas) which was released in September 2018 on Wonderwheel Recordings, Novalima went one step further to enrich their sound by collaborating with new generations of local artists from the peruvian music scene. The release of the new album also coincided with Novalima`s 15th Anniversary.


Novalima performing several songs courtesy of KEXP’s YouTube channel.


Ladama is a group of four women, virtuosic musicians, and educators -- Lara Klaus, Daniela Serna, Mafer Bandola and Sara Lucas—each from a different country and culture of the Americas, who are sisters in song, rhythm and spirit. Harnessing music from their respective countries of origin --Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela and the United States, the group utilizes traditional and non-traditional instruments from across the Americas, but with a modern twist, to produce Latin Alternative music.

Ladama’s debut, self-titled album, released in the Fall of 2017, could not be more timely; nowadays both Latin America and the United States, in fact the world, are deeply in need of projects that transcend boundaries and defy norms. This is precisely what their debut album, crafted carefully on a journey through Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela and New York, represents. Ladama’s new self-titled album transcends space, time and borders. Hatched across continents and language by the members of the group themselves, it delivers a fresh take on a myriad of traditional, Pan-American rhythms all coming together seamlessly into Ladama’s unique blend of enthralling sounds.

The songs in this collection emit an electric pulse and energy that are truly global in concept and vision. A song like Porro Maracatu is a vibrant and provocative marriage of two traditional rhythms from Afro-Colombian and Afro-Brazilian culture. Confesión is a tender love letter to self-actualization and womanhood. Traditional instruments combine with electric arrangements to produce a vibrant, melodious experiment in allowing oneself to feel, speak and reimagine the currents that connect us all across the Americas. In its deepest essence, Ladama’s inaugural album is a reflection of what it means to communicate across the Americas. Written, composed, arranged and produced by the dynamic foursome, the album is an organic yet modern expression of authenticity across cultures.

Ladama met on the road in 2014 while touring Los Angeles, Arizona, and New Mexico as part of the prestigious OneBeat Program. Between individual performances, leading youth workshops and public music-making events,

Lara, Daniela, Mafer and Sara uncovered a common dream of building communities through sound and empowering women and youth through music. Reimagining South American and Caribbean styles like cumbia, maracatu, onda nueva and joropo and blending them with soul, R&B and pop, Ladama creates a new sound all their own. Together, the four shred on the Bandola Llanera from Venezuela, the Tambor Alegre from Colombia, and the Pandeiro from Northeastern Brazil.

With powerful vocals, often accompanied by Pat Swoboda on the bass, Ladama delivers an utterly unique musical experience. Ladama flows from the electric to the acoustic, from Spanish to English and Portuguese, and from the high plains of Venezuela to the Colombian coast. Their art proves that borders are meaningless, transporting us to a future where the world communicates across continents and cultures, through sound and story.


Ladama performing “Porro Maracatu” courtesy of Ladama Project’s YouTube channel.

See lyrics for “Porro Maracatu” courtesy of Musixmatch.

About DJ Don Cuco

Rico Simon Mendez aka Dj Don Cuco has been known to have the natural touch at blending the harmony of sound and spirit, and materializing it into a musical movement. A soul revolution. He purchased his first electric guitar at age 7, and with Prince and Santana as his inspirations, he leaped head first into the dance of music. A constant evolving process, Rico has studied percussion, flute, bass and keys, and various electronic devices, focusing on indigenous sounds, Latin and African rhythms, world beats and healing frequencies. Humbly sharing stages and performing along side of artists such as Ozomatli, Natasha Beddingfield, ?uestlove, K-OS, Ursula Rucker, Bobbito Garcia, Atmosphere and many more, Rico has played both nationally and internationally with many bands and artists.

Proudly still spinning an eclectic collection of vinyl, Dj Don Cuco has wowed dance floors, lounges, radio, corporate events, fashion shows and retail stores with his fusion of rare selections from scenes across the globe. Doing everything from creating soundscapes and music styling for clothing boutiques and upscale restaurants, to developing and hosting an on air, award winning radio show on MPR, he continues to build relationships, bridging the gap with music and touching the world.

As a composer, Rico works with various artists, dancers and has written for commercials, web, TV & film. Currently residing in Brooklyn NY, he was recently certified in Sound and Vibration healing, works at a Dubspot, a DJ and production school, and is currently working on his own production company and record label, Cultura Love.

Cultura Love's aim is to work in communities with youth who don't have an outlet to express themselves creatively and also to raise funds through art based events and music for educational programming and communities of disaster and economic crisis.


Earlier Event: November 16