Every March, the who’s who of the creative world flocks to Austin, Texas for SXSW. The fest promises to be SX’s largest blowout to date, with a whopping 10-day citywide takeover and keynote speeches from President Obama and Michelle Obama. Six of those days will be dedicated to music, effectively making SXSW the largest music and press gathering of its kind, and we’re not even going into the film and interactive portions of the festival just yet.
With the bevy of Latin artists and bands flooding Austin stages during the festival’s week-long run, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the onslaught of talent. Make sure to use the SXSW online scheduling feature to plan out your week, arrive early to free shows, and stay on top of last minute announcements and cancellations. But even the best planned agendas will face some hard choices. To give you a hand with your grueling decision making, we decided to put together a list of artists worthy of braving the crowds for, and essential to your SXSW experience. Be sure to check out our own showcase on Friday, March 18.
Additional shoutouts to Empress Of, Mon Laferte, The Chamanas, Álvaro Díaz, Grupo Fantasma, El Sueño de la Casa Propia, Las Delailas, Pedrina y Rio, and many more.
Playing on U.S. stages for the first time is Natisú, a singer-songwriter from Chile whose musical output ranges from the acoustic to ethereal ambient production. Her 2014 album La Historia highlighted her delicate singing and solidified her place among the impressive pantheon of female musicians in Chile’s indie scene, leading to an invitation by goddess Francisca Valenzuela to play Ruidosa Fest in Santiago this past weekend. Natisú will bring her sweet and beautiful music to the Austin stage at a Chilean showcase at Friends on March 15, which will also feature Cóndor Jet and Edgar Van De Wingard. She’ll also play Departure Lounge on Thursday, March 17.
One of the hottest names at SXSW is Algodón Egipcio, who’ll be hitting Austin fresh off the release of his beautiful and eclectic new album La Confianza Ciega. Over the past year, his sound has evolved from dense and experimental to more accessible yet boundary-pushing territory. Festivalgoers will have multiple chances to catch the Venezuelan producer and his meticulously chaotic tropical beats, with confirmed showcase performances at The Townsend and Lucille on March 16 and 17.
Editor’s note: Algodón Egipcio (aka Cheky Bertho) is a Remezcla contributor.
Since last year, we have been talking about this Boricua MC non-stop, and now you’ll have the chance to see why. Her rapid-fire, sultry rhymes are turning heads online, and Overlord’s production on her EP, El Nuevo Orden Vol. 1, elevated her music to full replay-button status. Audri Nix will be performing at our very own Perreo showcase on March 18, so make sure to come through and turn up with one of Puerto Rico’s finest up-and-coming rappers.
This Chicago-based MC and son of Mexican and Japanese parents has been steadily gaining a following as part of the SaveMoney crew, drawing attention for his hyperactive juke beats and urgently earenst lyrics. Last year, he put out .Wav Theory, his first full-length mixtape, and recently sold out Lincoln Hall, signaling his star is on the rise. The young rapper is one big feature away from blowing up, so this is your chance to catch raw talent still unspoiled by fame. TOWKIO will be at The Belmont on March 18.
Known for her work with Brooklyn darlings Balancer, Gabriela Jimeno is stepping out on her own as Ela Minus, a quirky and sunny synthpop adventure. The Colombian singer-songwriter has been building considerable buzz since November, when she released her EP First Words, and now again as she promotes her newest effort, Grow. After conquering the main stages at Estereo Picnic in Bogota and Festival NRMAL in Mexico City, Ela Minus will head to Austin to kill it again at the Townsend on March 16 and 17 and The North Door on March 18.
This noisy garage-punk outfit from Spain is bringing their raw energy to SXSW and, without a doubt, is one of the acts to watch at the festival. The band has cut its teeth with extensive touring of Spain and Portugal, and is now ready to take Austin by storm in support of their newest EP Noche de Fantasmas Con Los Nastys. On March 17, March 18, and March 19, The Spaniards will be playing three different eclectic showcases that include names like Grenda, Sotomayor, and Chicano Batman, so make sure to stop by and mosh to your heart’s content.
Elements of indie, reggae, and jazz all make their way into Cocofunka‘s refined tropical sound. The Costa Rican band will be in Austin promoting their latest album Chúcaro, which was produced by Felipe Alvarez, whose credits include albums by Bomba Estéreo and Monsieur Periné. They are part of a top-notch showcase that also includes Miss Garrison and El Freaky, going down at Sledge Hammer on March 16. They’ll also take the International Day Stage on March 17.
You would think the rowdy DIY Spanish rockeras would have had enough of Austin by now, especially after performing a staggering 16 times at last year’s festivities, but the Spaniards are back, kicking off their U.S. headlining tour at SXSW. Even though they’re already confirmed for four high-profile showcases this year, playing alongside the likes of Kelela, Neon Indian, and CHVRCHES, keep an eye out for free out door shows and get there early, because these girls can seriously pack a house. Check them out on March 15 at the Hype Hotel, Mohawk on March 16, Cedar Street Courtyard on March 17, and Radio Day Stage on March 18.
The iconic Chilean funk band will be playing Latin showcases all around SXSW, and this is the perfect chance to catch their unique onstage party. Reunited in 2011 after a 7-year hiatus, the band has kept busy, collaborating with Chancho en Piedra to form La Familia Chilenita del Funk, touring extensively and playing multiple editions of Lollapalooza Chile. Los Tetas will be playing showcases along Systema Solar and Los Rakas, so expect the party to be turned all the way up to 11. Catch their sets on Friday at The North Door and Saturday at Maggie Mae’s.
OK, so we’re cheating with this one, but the ever-growing and ever-popping Mexican electronic collective will be taking over Austin with several shows by some of their staple artists, such as Lao, Zutzut, and Mexican Jihad. NAAFI is slated to hit up our Perreo NYC showcase on March 18. You can also satisfy your all-night-raving needs by heading over to the Teklife showcase at Barcelona on March 15. The electronic smorgasbord will feature all the previously mentioned producers, plus Tripletrain, DJ Paypal, and DJ Taye.