Over the decades SXSW has evolved into the most international music festival in the U.S. (Check out our archive piece from 2009.) This year’s line-up is embracing the worldly genres flair even more than before. After several artist announcements since October of 2018, there’s been a noticeable rise of performing acts from Nigeria, Mexico, Columbia, Brazil, and South Africa, with France and Canada trascending expected boundaries, in both geographical and music style, while splashing some serious samba, Cumbia, Afro-pop, and soul beats.
Here’s just a few select SXSW performaning acts slotted for this 2019, artists that will travel far and wide to make you sweat, groove, and celebrate life while you’re in Austin.
Omawumi, Warri, NIGERIA
Omawumi Megbele, going by simply Omawumi, is a woman on the go. As an actress, musical performer, business woman, and philanthropist with numerous awards, roles, and accreditations to her name, she also knows how to have fun, as seen in the recent video collab for Malowa featuring DJ Spinall & Slimcase. It’s no surprise that her album titles have super heroine influences, including ‘Wonder Women’ and ‘Lasso of Truth.’
Luedji Luna – Salvador, BRAZIL
Two years ago DC-based filmmaker, Falani Afrika, worked with Carol Aó Freitas on a short film starring Afro-Brazilian singer Luedji Luna, and through that process they shared their plights and parallels of African-Americans in the US and Afro-Brazilians. “In a racist society where the power of black women is often stereotyped as the ‘angry black woman,'” Afrika states in her Afropunk piece on Luna. “Luedji’s music comes to me like a breath of fresh air. Her voice is strong but delicate, as she sings with the same fluidity of the waters separating us from Africa.” This year at SXSW, Luna will perform new tracks with with special guests and her musical collaborator on stage, DJ Nyack.
La Chica – Paris, FRANCE
Also melding two cultural and territorial boundaries, this time Latin America and France, is the “multicultural reality” music project, La Chica. Having grown up between the worlds of Paris and Merida, Venezuela, with piano lessons, her musical influences are a cacophony of textures and beats, she describes herself as “Aztec punky Pop.” Her latest single “Ratas” is hooked-filled and firey, defiant yet angelic, with rhythms will wrap you ’round her pinkie finger. La Chica’s debut album is slated to release February 8, and we can’t wait to hear what else she has in store once she hits the stage in Austin.
Xenia França – Bahia, BRAZIL
Fierce. Powerful. Gorgeous movement of sound and expression. Xenia França from Brazil has been on a mission since going solo seven years ago, collecting accolades (Latin Grammy 2018 nominee, Women in Music 2018 nominee), releasing her debut album, and taking the stage, from New York’s Central Park summer series to a co-performance with Seal in Rio later this year. Centering her lyrical content around black women’s empowerment, her style of Afro-pop is captivating and enticing, as personified in “Reach The Stars” as she sings, “Yes, they can judge you / For your free flow / And your brown skin (up against my brown skyn)/ No, You can’t leave the fight / That’s the purpose / Of a real a queen.”
Dream Catchers Dance Academy – Ikorodu, NIGERIA
Prepare to go down the YouTube rabbit hole after seeing just one video of these amazing children and their endless dancing talent. Now a a global phenomenon (Rihanna social push helped a bit, but it was all them…now we just need to wait until Beyonce discovers them and brings them on tour), this dance academy provides a path to thriving for children in Lagos by tapping their love of music and performing. “This gives their dreams validity and helps them know that irrespective of what they have been told by others, they stand a chance at succeeding. We are making a change through innovative education.” I can. Not. WAIT to see them live and in person! #TuggingAtHeartStrings
Black Mambo – Bogotá, COLOMBIA
A few seconds into Black Mambo’s track, “Sévatica,” and you’re immediately taken away from whatever-the-hell-it-is-you’re-doing and to fun, hip-shaking place. Having only been around for the last few years, the four-piece has taken the Rumba clubs by pineapple tropical storm and have their 2019 sights set on a debut album and spreading their modern electronic dancehall sound around the globe.
Adekunle Gold – Lagos, NIGERIA
“Sing, like no one is listening / Dance, like no one is watching…My brother, forget your worry / Just be happy…” sings Nigerian performer, Adekunle Gold, and it’s easy to comply. Some of form of these words have been uttered before but not to this poppin’ party rhythm and bubbling with happiness melody. Gold has been known to sell out the Indigo, O2 Arena in London, so one could expect some packed, sweaty, dancing clubs in Austin as well.
KAFFEINE BUZZ SXSW 2019 PICKS (thus far, new songs added weekly)
SXSW takes place in Austin March 8 – 17, 2019.