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The “karimba” is the hot iron used to mark the cattle, as well as the slaves. In this song, a child slave compares his mark with that of an old bull… as they both bear the same mark, he calls him “brother bull”…normally when an old bull died, it was given to the slaves as food…in this case, because of the mark the slaves won‘t eat it even though they are starving, and give it to the dog. This track is an adaptation of a traditional uptempo song by Pepe Villalobos. For this version, Rafael adapted the riff of a Thrash Metal song from our first band (25 years ago), slowed the tempo radically and changed the major key of the original to a minor key for a more melancholic / protest vibe. The result was a modern psichodelic afro blues….. Having finished a Pepe Vasquez session in our studio, he heard our recording of Karimba as he was leaving…he stopped on his tracks saying "This song sounds great, I would love to sing in this rhythm!"…. without any practice he took the microphone and just sang the blues in only one take …


Un negrito entristecido acariciaba un viejo buey
Comparando la misma marca decía, hermano buey
Ya se desarmó la yunta porque el buey se le murió
Como lleva misma marca (el perro la va a comer)
Huyan, hermanos, huyan, que el patrón está endemoniao
Que cuando coje Carimba al mismo diablo quiere marcar
Karimba, karimbarimba, a otro vas a marcar
Zamacueca, zamacueca huyendo me voy de aca
Zamacueca…me voy de aca, Zamacueca…me voy de aca
Pero que zamacueca, yo me voy, me voy de aca


A sad small black child caresses and old bull
Comparing the same mark, he calls it “brother bull”
The “yunta” fell off caused the bull died
Because we bear the same mark, we´ll let the dog eat it
Run, brothers run, the master is possessed!
And when he grabs the karimba, he wants to mark the "devil" himself
Karimba , karimbarimba, you´ll have to mark another one
Zamacueca, zamacueca, I’m running away from here
Zamacueca…I'm leaving this place


from Karimba, released June 15, 2012
(adaptation of trad. song by Jose Villalobos, new arrangement and music by Rafael Morales)

Pepe Vasquez – Lead vocals
Marcos mosquera – cajon, backing vocals
Rafael Morales – guitar, keys, programming
Toni Economides - synth
Carlos Li-Carrillo - bass
Constantino Alvarez – Hihat
Pier Paolo De Bernardi – Ride cymbal


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With a shared passion for traditional Afro-Peruvian music and global DJ culture, Grammy-nominated Novalima stands in the common ground bridging past and future, uniting tradition and innovation.


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