Can’t miss Latin alternative bands at SXSW 2016

Colombia’s Systema Solar is among the SXSW 2016 showcasing artists.
Colombia’s Systema Solar is among the SXSW 2016 showcasing artists.

Our Austin360 music team has poured over the intense South by Southwest music schedule and picked out our favorite SXSW showcases to check out each day of the fest, hour by hour. For music lovers who enjoy listening to Latin alternative music or want to check out some international bands, here are my critic’s picks.


8 p.m. Gina Chavez (The Sidewinder Outside). Embracing the space between cultural lines, this Austin-based songstress offers a glimpse into the path she’s been on to connect with her Latina roots with inimitable bilingual folk-pop songs.

9 p.m. Natisú (Friends). Chile keeps making some of the best pop music in Latin America thanks to adventurous musicians like experimental indie artist Natisú. (Also playing at 9 p.m. Thursday at Departure Lounge.)

10 p.m.-1:40 a.m. SXAméricas: Zona Indie showcase (Sledge Hammer). Check out a sampling of Latin American indie music at this showcase. You’ll discover bands like Los Detectives Helados, who come from Ecuador’s burgeoning music scene with their indie rock that flirts with cosmic pop.


8 p.m. The Warning (Karma Lounge). When a YouTube video of these three Mexican sisters playing a cover of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” went viral, the young girls ages 15, 13 and 10 rose to the spotlight. They appeared on the Ellen De Generes show and raised money to attend a summer program at the Berklee College of Music, where they also created video diaries for the EllenTube Channel.

9 p.m. Jéf (Sledge Hammer). The Brazilian singer-songwriter got his big break in 2014 when he won the reality show music competition “Breakout Brazil” and landed a record deal with Sony Music.

10 p.m. Molina y Los Cósmicos (Sledge Hammer). In recent years, the tiny country of Uruguay has been producing unbelievable music. At previous SXSW festivals, the country has brought a delegation of diverse artists. Although there’s no official Uruguayan showcase this year, there are several standout artists like this folk-pop outfit.

11 p.m. Cabezas Flutuantes (Russian House). Using homemade instruments and everyday objects like pencils, Cabezas Flutantes of Brazil present upbeat, pop experimental songs that showcase tropical soundscapes.

Midnight Oques Grasses (Flamingo Cantina). Rising stars in the Catalan music scene, Oques Grasses of Barcelona deliver reggae-inspired pop music. (Also playing Friday at the Palm Door, time is TBD.)

1 a.m. División Minúscula (Karma Lounge). The SXSW alums’ punk rock sound was discovered by legendary DJ Toy Selectah of Control Machete fame. (División Minúscula also plays at 5 p.m. Saturday at the SXSW Outdoor Stage at Lady Bird Lake.)


8 p.m. Velo De Oza (Speakeasy). When you mix Colombian folk music with rock and pop, you get an energetic live show from this charasmatic band that’s sure to create a fun vibe. (Also plays at 11 p.m. Friday at Flamingo Cantina)

9:20 p.m. Arianna Puello (Speakeasy Kabaret). Now more than ever fierce women in Latin hip-hop are bringing inventive and politically savvy rhymes to the forefront. Arianna Puello, a Spanish rapper of Dominican descent, has been delivering her spit-fire lyrics since 1993. (Also performs at 9:40 p.m. Friday at North Door.)

10 p.m. Elida Almeida (Flamingo Cantina). Music lovers will be enchanted with the powerful voice and incredible depth that this songstress brings from Cape Verde, an island off the west coast of Africa. Though danceable and uplifting, some of her songs in Portuguese reflect on meloncholy moments from her childhood including the death of her father when she was just a girl. (Also plays at midnight on Wednesday at Russian House.)

11 p.m. Las Delailas (Departure Lounge). The Monterrey-based pop-folk outfit creates melodies composed using a combination of guitar, ukelele, harmonica, tambourine and vocal harmonies.

Midnight. A-Wa (Flamingo Cantina). Yeminite sisters infuse Arab folk songs with modern beats. (Also play 1 a.m. Friday Russian House.)

1 a.m. The Chamanas (The Townsend). Drawing musical influences from 1970s Mexican pop and modern indie music, the Chamanas call the border region of El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez home. They recently captured the national spotlight with their cover of Portugal. The Man’s song “Purple, Yellow, Red, and Blue.” (Also play at 1 a.m. Saturday at Blackheart)


8 p.m. Lulacruza (Palm Door on Sixth). The Argentine electronic folk duo beautifully melds modern and ancient sounds. It’s the place to be when you’re ready to get away from the SXSW chaos and reenergize with inspiring music. (Also play at noon on Wednesday at the International Day Stage and at 12:05 a.m. on Wednesday at The Townsend.)

9 p.m. Sotomayor (Flamingo Cantina). Siblings Raul and Paulina Sotomayor make up the hip, electronic music project from Mexico City. Their cutting-edge beats also fuse rhythms like Peruvian chicha music. (Also plays at 3 p.m. Wednesday at the International Day Stage and 9 p.m. Thursday at Lucille.)

10 p.m. Julio Piña (Flamingo Cantina). These Chilean party instigators create hip-shaking cumbias sure to keep you dancing all night. (Julio Piña will also perform at 10 p.m. Wednesday at Russian House.)

11 p.m. Jenny and the Mexicats (Continental Club). An English female trumpet player walked into a flamenco club in Spain and met two Mexican musicians that changed her musical journey. They added a Spanish cajón player to the mix, and became rising stars playing bilingual genre-blending grooves that mesh everything from flamenco to rockabilly.

12:05 a.m. Kat Dahlia (Swan Dive). The buzz has been swirling around Miami-bred Cuban-American singer-songwriter Kat Dahlia. The up-and-comer released her debut album in 2015, and it’s inspired by pop, Latin, hip-hop and reggae. (Also performs at noon on Saturday at the Radio Day Stage.)

1 a.m. Locos Por Juana (Half Step). The Grammy-nominated Miami band has been shaking up the Latin music world for more than a decade with their hybrid sound and energetic live shows. Don’t miss the chance to see these party masters. (Also perform at midnight Saturday at Flamingo Cantina.)


6 p.m. Systema Solar (SXSW Outdoor Stage at Lady Bird Lake). They’ve risen from the Colombian music underground and stormed the Latin alternative scene with their explosive shows that are an audio visual experience. Systema Solar blends Afro Carribbean and Colombian folk with everything from hip-hop, techno, house, cumbia and electronica. (Also perform at 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Radio Day Stage and 1 a.m. Thursday at Flamingo Cantina.)

8 p.m. Laguna Pai (Flamingo Cantina). The Peruvian reggae rockers weave socially conscious lyrics in their music focusing on issues like environmental conservation and equity.

9 p.m. Florencia Núñez (Stephen F’s Bar). Keep your eyes on this Uruguayan singer-songwriter whose impressive first album has been showered with accolades. She’s an exciting new voice in Latin indie music tying together influences from pop, jazz and folk.

10 p.m. Zona Tango (Elephant Room). You’ve never heard tango music like this before. Argentine multi-instrumentalist and composer Pedro Menendez’ ecclectic musical project creates a modern tango sound by fusing it with jazz, electronic and psychedelic rhythms.

11 p.m. Consulado Popular (Flamingo Cantina). Punk rock meets Colombian cumbia. (Also play at 1 a.m. Thursday at Speakeasy.)

12:50 a.m. Buyepongo (Speakeasy). Singer and percussionist Edgar “Meshlee” Modesto once described the Los Angeles band’s sound as music that’ll get you moving and thinking. Buyepongo released its album “Todo Mundo” earlier this year, which is full of pan-Latin rhythms that’ll nourish your soul.

Nortec Collective, Toy Selectah among Casa México performers at SXSW

Nortec Collective will present Bostich + Fussible at Casa México during SXSW.
Nortec Collective will present Bostich + Fussible at Casa México during SXSW.

Bicultural music mashers Nortec Collective will present special sets by Bostich + Fussible at Casa México during South by Southwest Interactive on March 11-14 at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center. A slew of other Mexican performers including hip-hop icon and mix master Toy Selectah (of Control Machete fame) will help kick off Mexico’s first large-scale event at SXSW, which will bring entrepreneurs, tech innovators, tourism and cultural leaders together.

Casa México events, which are free with registration, range from art and tech panels to entrepreneur meetups. Musical performances will be interspersed throughout the day with evening performances starting at 6 p.m.

Mexico City's Centarvrs explores the traditional Mexican corrido genre with electronic rhythms.
Mexico City’s Centarvrs explores the traditional Mexican corrido genre with electronic rhythms.

Other featured performers include Mexican alternative rockers Centavrvs, who are SXSW alums that energize crowds with their

Casa México guests should register here. For more information about the panels and shows, visit

Here’s a look at the complete musical line-up:

Friday, March 11

2-2:30 p.m. McCallum High School Ballet Folklórico

4:30-5:30 p.m. Organización Kumbiambiera

6-8 p.m. Toy Selectah at Open House Mexico

8-9 p.m. Centavrvs

9-11 p.m. Tropicaza

Saturday, March 12

2-3 p.m. Autume

3-4 p.m. El Tule

4:30-5:30 p.m. Fridah Band

6-8 p.m. Nortec Collective Presents Bostich + Fussible “Tuba Set”

8-10 p.m. Toy Selectah

10-11 p.m. Centavrvs

Sunday, March 13

2-2:30 p.m. Roy Lozano’s Ballet Folklórico de Texas

3-4 p.m. Peke Straver

4:30-5:30 p.m. Arzalez

6-8 p.m. Nortec Collective, Presents Bostich + Fussible “Tuba Set”

8-9 p.m. DJ AAAA

9-10 p.m. NAAFI

Monday, March 14

2-3 p.m. Macizo

3-4 p.m. Vitera

4:30-5:30 p.m. Sefo

6-8 p.m. NAAFI

8-9 p.m. Micca

9-10 p.m. DJ AAAA






SXSW presents first Cuban music showcase

Telmary Diaz
Telmary Diaz is among the featured artists at the Sounds from Cuba showcase.

For the first time in South by Southwest’s 30-year history, the festival will dedicate an entire showcase to Cuban music on March 18 at Speakeasy (412 Congress Ave.).

Over the years Cuban artists like songstress Danay Suárez have been featured at SXSW, but these performances mark the first Sounds from Cuba showcase with “an entire night dedicated to bands that currently reside and don’t plan to leave Cuba,” according to SXAméricas organizer Alicia Zertuche.

The showcase, which is presented by Roads & Kingdoms magazine and Cuban artist center Fábrica de Arte Cubano, features performers such as Afro-Latin jazz quintet Yissy & Bandancha and Telmary Díaz, a soulful rapper, singer and poet who is backed by a seven-piece band. Other artists include the young, rising R&B artist Daymé Arocena, who The Guardian described as having “all the makings of being the next major Cuban star.”

Rounding out the showcase are veteran performers X-Alfonso y La Flota and Kelvis Ochoa who will also speak at a SXSW music panel focused on the future of Cuban music as the country’s doors are beginning to open up.

Sounds from Cuba at SXSW Music 2016

8:30 p.m. Telmary
9:35 p.m. Yissy & Bandancha
10:40 p.m. Daymé Arocena
11:45 p.m. X-Alfonso Y La Flota
12:50 a.m. Kelvis Ochoa

SXSW announces free, Latin music showcase

Intocable headlines all-Latino showcase at SXSW.

South by Southwest has announced an all-Latino showcase on March 19 at the SXSW Outdoor Stage at Lady Bird Lake (formerly the Auditorium Shores stage). The free show, which is part of SXAméricas, will feature artists Intocable, Grupo Fantasma, Systema Solar, División Minúscula, and 3BallMTY. More artists will be announced later.

Tejano/Norteño fusion band, Intocable, will get another chance to headline the showcase after last year’s Auditorium Shores show was cancelled because of standing water, leaving fans who came from near and far disappointed since the band could not reschedule.

In 2013, the group headlined the Pachanga Latino Music Festival and band vocalist Ricky Muñoz told the Statesman’s Spanish-language weekly ¡Ahora Sí! back then that, “We have Tejano roots, and we have a norteño influence, that is for sure. But I don’t know what you should really call us, other than good music.” The award-winning music veterans have been playing for more than 20 years.

Grupo Fantasma, who celebrated their 15th anniversary last fall, will bring their genre-mashing music for what’s sure to be a dance party. New to SXSW this year will be the Colombian collective, Systema Solar, who are popular in the Latin alternative scene for their blend of Colombian Afro-Caribbean music with contemporary rhythms.

Monterrey-based SXSW alums División Minúscula and 3BallMTY return to the festival. Both were discovered by the legendary DJ Toy Selectah of Control Machete fame, who also a part-time Austinite. With División Minúscula’s punk rock sound and 3BallMTY’s energetic electronic tribal music, this showcase will feature a wide range of diverse Latin sounds.

The showcase, which start at 2 p.m., is open to the public with free Guest Pass wristbands. It’s also open to people with SXSW Music and Platinum badges. For more information, visit the SXSW Outdoor Stage webpage.

Mexican American Experience Festival announces line-up

AJ Castillo will headline a show at the Mexican American Experience Festival.
A.J. Castillo will headline a show at the Mexican American Experience Festival. Photo by Julia Robinson

While the crowds descend on downtown during South by Southwest, there’s a festival where you can enjoy Tejano and Latin rhythms for free while taking in the city’s awe-inspiring lakeside views and festive atmosphere.

Head to the courtyard of the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center on March 16-17, where music kicks off at 6 p.m. with the Mexican American Experience festival. David Farias, who was the former leader of Tejano supergroup, La Tropa F, headlines on Wednesday night. Other featured artists that evening include Austin Music Award Winners A-T Boyz, Yayo Castillo y Rumores and Tejano Highway 281.

On Thursday, Tejano music star A.J. Castillo wraps up the festival. Performances earlier that evening will include Tejano Idol contest winner Monica Saldivar, singer-songwriter and accordion player Lucky Joe and rising star Angel Gonzalez y Vimana. Festival-goers can park at Martin Middle School and catch a free shuttle to the show.

For more information, click here.

Los Lobos to perform at Bass Concert Hall


What are you? I’ve been asked that question on both sides of the border. The Mexican American experience, with all its cultural complexities, isn’t always easy to understand.

Through music, though, multiple Grammy winners Los Lobos have let listeners into their own Mexican American experience. Now, the veteran musicians want to pay homage and educate audiences about influential Mexican Americans throughout history in a special performance at 8 p.m. Feb. 11 at Bass Concert Hall.

The can’t-miss show promises to be a moving performance bringing together music, imagery and dance. Joining the living legends on the stage for the “Fiesta Mexico-Americana” show are special guests Ballet Folklorico Mexicano.

The California-based Ballet Folklorico Mexicano, which was founded in 1967, will present everything from traditional to contemporary choreography. For more than 20 years, the dance group has served as a cultural ambassador for the Mexican consulate in San Francisco.

Tickets for the performance, which will celebrate Mexican American heritage, range from $10-$48. Visit for more information.

Tish Hinojosa speaks out about fair pay for musicians

Singer-songwriter Tish Hinojosa is a veteran musician based in Austin. Photo by KELLY WEST / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Singer-songwriter Tish Hinojosa is a veteran musician based in Austin. Photo by KELLY WEST / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

When the Austin Music Census, which surveyed Austinites who work in the music industry, was released last summer, issues like affordability rose to the forefront. It sparked discussions among city officials, musicians, venue owners and music fans about how to keep the music scene vibrant in a city that’s branded itself the “Live Music Capital of the World.”

In an editorial piece for the Austin American-Statesman, veteran singer-songwriter Tish Hinojosa wrote about the importance of fair pay for musicians and her experiences performing in Austin over the years.

Hinojosa, who was recently featured in an Austin360 holiday music video series, moved to Europe in 2005. She returned to a different Austin in 2013, and has been rebuilding her noted career.

In her recent opinion piece, Hinojosa writes that change in Austin is inevitable but that, “The changes I see reflect a city that loves what the title ‘Live Music Capital Of The World” has brought Austin, but also one that is turning a blind eye to problems facing musicians who need decent pay…” Read Hinojosa’s editorial in its entirety here.