In the age of sampling, with hip hop's aesthetic of combining disparate elements to fresh and new effect, global dance music has flourished. The Washington D.C. based DJ duo of Rob Garza and Eric Hilton have been doing it for almost two decades as Thievery Corporation, a name I always took as a sly reference to the liberal borrowing of sampled exotica that they layered into their early recorded projects. I'm not sure if they were the first to do so, but like most that were good at it, the studio sampling was soon supplemented by live musicians who could take their multi-kulti kaleidoscopic sound to the stage.
Soon, there were other examples of this new sound emerging out of the dance clubs, like the Paris-based Gotan Project's take on tango. DJs around the world were introducing ethnic sounds into club sets or, just as often, injecting electronic beats into local traditions, packing dance floors in São Paulo, Beirut, Mumbai... pretty much everywhere.
Musical blending is probably as old as music itself, and there are dozens of current examples of artists creating out of their own traditions and pumping up the volume with electronics, hip-hop, funk and rock. Novalima has been doing it since 2001, and I find something charming and perhaps even reassuring in their back story, that you can travel the globe making discoveries and yet find your muse is something that was back home all along. It's about holding on to your cultural identity even as you participate as a citizen of the world. Still, you return changed by those journeys, and out of that comes something new.
Novalima is, in a sense, kind of a mirror image to Thievery Corporation, who cast about for global sounds to spice up their dance floor mix. Novalima brought dance beats (and a lot more) back home and integrated them into their own traditions, creating a sound that is culturally authentic and at the same time thoroughly up-to-the minute. You might want to check it out for yourself.