Every year South by Southwest is a music lover’s paradise with a wonderfully overwhelming amount of artists, bands and DJs to check out. There’s a chance to see some of your current interests, old favorites, and maybe most importantly, discover brand new sounds. Austin is a multicultural city and SXSW always offers a wide array of musical flavors. Latin music is well represented at this year’s festival and I’d like to share some of my recommendations.
Los Rakas (Fri. 3/18 at Venue 222) Oakland’s Panamanian rappers Dun and Rich create an irresistible mix of hip-hop, dancehall, Latin and more. They’re one of my favorite rap acts, Spanish-language or otherwise.
Zuzuka Poderosa (Sat. 3/19 at Prague) Zuzuka Poderosa crafts a unique New York City-flavored version of Brazilian baile funk. Her energy is magnetic and if the music doesn’t make you move you’re probably frozen in carbonite.
Mexican Institute of Sound (Wed. 3/16 at Elysium – Thur. 3/17 at 508 House (DJ Set) – Fri. 3/18 at Austin Convention Center) Mexico City’s Camilo Lara and company blend traditional sounds with hip-hop, electronic, dub, rock and the kitchen sink into a frenetic fireball of a dance party.
Davila 666 (Wed. 3/16 at Nuvola – Thurs. 3/17 at Club de Ville) Make sure and check out my favorite soulful garage-rock/noise pop band from Puerto Rico.
Tormenta Tropical/Peligrosa (Wed. 3/16, Thurs. 3/17, Fri. 3/18, Sat. 3/19 at Frank Restaurant) An amazing Tropical Bass showcase hosted by Austin’s own Peligrosa crew with a range of DJs spinning modern Latin styles from Guarachero to Moombahton and more. This is where the party’s at.
Chico Mann (Wed. 3/16 at Scoot Inn – Thurs. 3/17 at Speakeasy Kabaret) Cuban New Yorker and member of Antibalas, Chico Mann is a guitarist, bassist, keyboard player and beat maker whose solo material bridges Afro-Cuban sounds with synth-centric electro. Oh so funky.
Grupo Fantasma (Sat. 3/19 at Havana Patio) Austin’s own (and recent Grammy winners) Grupo Fantasma put on an amazing live set with their top notch salsa-funk-rock sound. It’s fun to dance to and the musicianship is incredible.
Toy Selectah (Thurs. 3/17 at Flamingo Cantina – Sat. 3/19 at Prague – Sat. 3/19 at Friends) Monterrey, Mexico DJ/producer/remixer Toy Selectah is a pioneer in Latin hip-hop and electronic music and is still at the forefront of the evolving scene. Highly respected and talented. If you even remotely like Latin beats don’t miss him.
Monareta (Fri. 3/18 at Copa – Sat. 3/19 at Barberella Patio) Colombian dub-cumbia-electronica with beats and live keyboards. Smart and way danceable.
DJ Sabo (Sat. 3/19 at Prague) Fellow Mo’Glo DJ Sabo is an internationally known DJ/producer who spins Latin and global joints alongside hip-hop and variety of electronic styles. Guaranteed to make you smile and move your feet.
Chilly hosts the variety mix every Thursday night on KEXP 90.3FM and “Mo’Glo” every Saturday at midnight on Radio New York 91.5 FM. You can follow him on Twitter here.