Festival season is set to kick off this week with the annual return of the South By Southwest (SXSW) music festival in Austin, Texas. For nearly 30 years now, the city’s downtown is converted into a playground for music lovers, fanatics and industry execs looking to discover their new favorite artist.
Though the SXSW festival has grown to include film and multimedia panels, workshops and conferences, the week-long musical celebration remains its main draw thanks to the large number of national and international artists that perform there. This year is no different and there are a variety of artists from Latin America scheduled to perform this week. Some, such as world-famous bands Molotov and Café Tacvba, need no introduction. Others, however, are small, typically independent, artists looking to share their music with an international audience. Here are a few lower-profile artists worth keeping an eye (or, in this case, an ear) on at the 2013 SXSW festival.
Latino artists at 2013 SXSW festival
El Mató A Un Policía Motorizado
Fans of indie rock/garage groups such as Sonic Youth and The Strokes should check out El Mató A Un Policía Motorizado. The band from La Plata, Argentina is currently in the middle of a world tour in support of their second full-length album, “La Dinastía Scorpio“. The album finds the band in top form with Santiago Motorizado’s vocal work sounding more professional and less like someone who trains at karaoke bars. The group’s guitar work has also been balanced out so it’s not as overpowering or chaotic as in previous records. This is the point when El Mató is starting to hit its stride having found its signature sound. Here’s there music video on “El dia de los muertos“.
El Cuarteto De Nos
Also at the 2013 SXSW festival will be El Cuarteto De Nos, one of Uruguay’s most popular rock bands. The band, which is led by guitarist/vocalist Roberto Musso, made its debut in 1980 and remains Montevideo’s best kept secret despite releasing nearly 20 albums in 32 years and winning two Latin Grammys last year for Best Rock/Pop Album and Best Song. That’s a shame considering the group’s rich history. Nos has remained relevant in its 30 plus year history thanks to the members’ willingness to evolve and experiment with different styles. The band is proof that, yes, you can still rock out in your 40s without being stale. Watch El Cuarteto De Nos‘ hit song “Cuando Sea Grande“.
Gepe a.k.a. Daniel Riveros
Across the other side of South America is Chile, which will be represented by Gepe and Protistas. Gepe, a.k.a. Daniel Riveros, completed his leap from folk artist to alternative/pop hero with last year’s release of GP. His 2005 debut album “Gepinto” earned him comparisons to many Chilean folk heroes of the 1960s/70s such as Victor Jara. His popularity instantly grew in Chile but it wasn’t until 2010 that he rose to fame in all of Latin America following the release of “Audiovisión” and his hit single “Alfabeto”. Gepe hopes to bring that star power to the U.S. Listen to Gepe’s “Alfabeto” here.
His neighbors from Santiago, Protistas, have followed a similar successful trajectory. The noise-pop (as they call their music) quintet arrived on the music scene in 2008 and has released three albums (“EP1″, “Nortinas War” and last year’s “Las Cruces”) since then. Their sound, however, is vastly different thanks to the dual guitar attack from Alvaro Solar and Julian Salas. The result is as loud and chaotic as it is melodic, a feat much easier said that done and one that should translate wonderfully to a live setting.
This is just the tip of the SXSW festival iceberg of Latin American artists but it’s a great place to start and a great place to see how Latin music has evolved since the days when Mana and Caifanes ruled the roost.
Discover more music featured at the 2013 SXSW festival here and watch Protistas music video for “Granada.”
–Courtesy of Voxxi.com