In the beginning, SXSW was thought to be more of a Rock/Pop focused festival. Today, every genre of music is represented including an ever-growing presence of World music, confirming that Austin is the Live Music Capital of the World.
Helping Austin live up to its globally demanding title is South By Southwest, which aims to reflect the global market of creators by showcasing a world-class line up of world-class musicians. The past few years have seen a growing expansion of the number of World music shows & artists, global-conscious speakers, and diverse meet-ups. This year at SXSW, SXAméricas launches as the new hub of everything from North, Central and South America, the International Day Stage returns, and a worldly platter of music dishes out across Austin including World music shows at Russian House, Showcase Presenters such as globalFEST, WOMEX, Rock Paper Scissors, Sounds from Colombia, Uruguay, Spain along with Intolerancia, Club Los Globos and World music power house, Nacional Records.
The Russian House, on 5th and Trinity, will host three nights of Sounds from the World and one Rock Paper Scissors presented showcase.
Wednesday night is a night of mashed-up genres. Scottish sensation Saor Patrol plays bagpipe rock ’n’ roll, and Gochag Askarov Ensemble comes to Austin all the way from Azerbaijan to showcase his three octaves of Mugham singing. Austin favorites Atash with their middle-eastern grooves and Rattletree with their homemade, larger than life marimbas, round out the night.
Thursday night focuses on Spanish, Uruguayan, and Chilean music. Nano Stern lends his Jethro Tull-esque grandiosity, Soledad Valdez her contralto vocals, and Niño Cohete their catchy pop.
Friday night features many well-known world acts, from female fronted pop to heart-throb boy band. On the bill is Mariachi Las Alteñas, an all female mariachi band from Texas. Also, Rancho Aparte, a percussion-brass band of Columbianos trained to get you up and marching to their rhythm. Closing out the evening is psychedelic jazz group Troker. Their trumpet, tenor sax, and DJ combo follow in Herbie Hancock’s footsteps, but with Guadalajaran flavor.
Rounding out the Russian House showcases is first time presenter, Rock Paper Scissors on Saturday night. Included to perform are Dudu Tassa, KiT (Kuenta I Tambu) and A Tribe Called Red. Israeli singer-songwriter Dudu Tassa takes his Iraqi-Yemeni poetics and blends them with Tel Aviv’s popular rock sound. KiT (Kuenta i Tambu) is a dance-heavy group out of The Netherlands, but with deep Caribbean roots. Anchoring the show is turntablist crew A Tribe Called Red. They got the beat to make you go Pow Wow Boom, mixing Ottawa’s urban pulse with Aboriginal-Canadian sounds.
WOMEX, a traveling road show and ever popular and important World music conference and festival returns for a sixth year and will call Flamingo Cantina home on Thursday with Colombian groove master Quantic, South Korean phenoms Jambinai and French poet/music masters Lo’Jo.
globalFEST brings a slice of their New York festival to SXSW again with a return to Speakeasy on Friday featuring a reunion of Festival in the Desert alumni Tinariwen, Imarhan and Lo’Jo for a second appearance for those who just couldn’t get enough on Thursday. Headlining the show will be another appearance by the dance heavy, Afro beat pop group KiT (Kuenta I Tambu).
Also at Speakeasy on Wednesday and Thursday nights is the return of the incredibly fun and lively Sounds from Uruguay and Sounds from Colombia. Leave your shirts at home and join in as the crowd becomes one bouncing mass of smiles.
The newest club to join the SXSW family, Vulcan Gas Company, will host Sounds from Argentina on Thursday night and are bringing a very special selection of artists including Alika & Nueva Alianza, Pommez, Phonalex and Federico Aubele.
Nacional Records, the label and tastemaker behind LAMC (Latin Alternative Music Conference) in New York, spins their vinyl to life with legendary artists Ana Tijoux, Nortec Collective Presents: Bostich & Fussible and Spanish singing garage rockers AJ Davila at Palm Door on Sixth on Thursday night.
Is that enough to quench your thirst for some new Sounds from the World? If not, dig into the SXSW music schedule, meander the streets and be surprised by the hidden gems not mentioned here.
Special thanks to Todd Puckhaber & Ivan Brave for the text. Photos top to bottom, left to right: Ana Tijoux, Tinariwen, Dudu Tassa, KiT (Kuenta I Tambu), Gochag Askarov Ensemble, Saor Patrol, and Bostich & Fussible