Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia on the pitch
In 1946, Brazil and Argentina played a particularly nasty football match for the South American championship. Less than 30 minutes into the game, the Argentine captain suffered a career-ending broken leg, rival players brawled on the pitch, and riotous fans swarmed the field. The teams refused to play each other for another decade.
Be it football, politics, economics, or actual wars, these South American giants have long been bitter rivals. The two neighbors bring a friendlier competition to Austin as more than a dozen Brazilian bands and almost as many Argentine acts play South by Southwest 08. Throw in two Colombian bands, and it all adds up to the largest showing ever at the music festival for South American artists.
Of the Argentine contingent, more than half (Axel K Soundsystem, El Remolon, Frikstailers, Tremor, and King Coya & el Trip Selector) belong to a bubbling underground Buenos Aires club movement that mashes up cumbia with dancehall, house, hip-hop, and reggaeton. The loose collective of artists are the masterminds behind Zizek, Buenos Aires' hottest weekly dance party named for the Slovenian-born philosopher Slavoj Zizek, who married an Argentine scholar and lingerie model. Like Zizek's philosophy, the collective's electro-cumbia is a hodgepodge of ideas that is fun, elusive, and wholly original. Having been blessed with the Diplo stamp of approval, the Zizek crew brings its underground dance party to Ninety Proof Lounge on March 13. Don't miss multi-instrumentalist Axel Krygier's Axel K Soundsystem, who spices up his dubbed-out big beats with live percussion and accordion.
Brazil has its own philosopher whose ideas manifest in the country's music, though he may not have eloped with an underwear model. Oswald de Andrade's 1928 Cannibalist Manifesto suggested that the country's great strength is the way in which Brazilians devour foreign influences in the process of creating something uniquely Brazilian. It's a philosophical thread that weaves its way throughout Brazilian music history and can be seen in the stable of Brazilian artists playing SXSW 08, many of whom meld the modern with traditional, indigenous with the foreign.
From São Paulo, Curumin injects traditional samba with splashes of soul, reggae, funk, and hip-hop. Signed to San Francisco's Quannum Projects, this modern sambista stands out on a label full of left-coast lyricists. Yet the mix of breezy melodies and boom-bap beats on his 2005 release, Achados e Perdidos, fits the Bay Area vibe, be it San Francisco or São Salvador da Bahia de Todos os Santos.
Like Curumin, Brazilian hip-hop legend Marcelo D2 mixes old with new, mining heavy 1970s Brazilian funk as a canvas for his rapid-fire Portuguese rhymes. The MC got his start with Planet Hemp and has since collaborated with Sergio Mendes and traded verses with Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas and Chali 2na of Jurassic 5. His 2006 release, Meu Samba É Assim (Sony BMG), solidified his place as one of Brazil's most important young artists.
Those who enjoyed the freaky coming-out party of Bonde do Role at last year's SXSW will want to check out the noisy lo-fi electro-rock of Lucy & the Popsonics. The guitar duo doesn't dabble in baile funk, but the maddening effect of its music – a raucous off-kilter dance party – is the same. It doesn't hurt that Lucy herself is the most adorable punk rocker you could ever hope to see.
A historic number of South American artists play SXSW this year. Let's just hope the Brazilians and Argentines can play nice.
Artsy Argentine Avant-Garde
Pedro Menéndez Ensemble
Argentine Electronic Dance
Axel K Soundsystem
King Coya & el Trip Selector
Classic Bossa Nova
Axel K Soundsystem, Buenos Aires, Argentina, www.myspace.com/axelkrygier, Thursday, 10pm, Ninety Proof Lounge
Capsula, Buenos Aires, Argentina, www.capsula.org, Wednesday, 11pm, B.D. Riley's
El Remolon, Buenos Aires, Argentina, www.myspace.com/elremolon, Thursday, 9pm, Ninety Proof Lounge
Frikstailers, Cordoba, Argentina, www.myspace.com/frikstailers, Thursday, 1am, Ninety Proof Lounge
King Coya & el Trip Selector, Buenos Aires, Argentina, www.myspace.com/kingcoya, Thursday, 11pm, Ninety Proof Lounge
Pedro Menéndez Ensemble, Buenos Aires, Argentina, www.contemporaneomusic.com, Saturday, TBA, Elephant Room
Valerio Rinaldi, Buenos Aires, Argentina, www.valeriorinaldi.com.ar, Saturday, 11pm, Club 115
Tremor, Buenos Aires, Argentina, www.tremormusic.com, Thursday, 8pm, Ninety Proof Lounge
Zona Tango, Buenos Aires, Argentina, www.contemporaneomusic.com, Friday, TBA, Elephant Room
Pierre Aderne, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, www.myspace.com/pierreaderne, Thursday, 12mid, Copa
Alexia Bomtempo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, www.myspace.com/alexiabomtempo, Thursday, 11pm, Copa
Curumin, São Paolo, Brazil, www.myspace.com/curumin, Thursday, 9:30pm, Prague
Debate, São Paulo, Brazil, www.myspace.com/debaterock, Saturday, 12mid, Club 115
Fruet & os Cozinheiros, Porto Alegre, Brazil, www.cozinheiros.com, Saturday, 8pm, Club 115
Tita Lima, São Paulo, Brazil, www.sonicbids.com/epk/epk.asp?epk_id=122128, Thursday, 1am, Copa
Lucy & the Popsonics, Brasília, Brazil, www.lucyandthepopsonics.com.br, Thursday, 9pm, Flamingo Cantina
Marcelo D2, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, www.marcelod2.com.br, Thursday, 12mid, Momo's
Nancy, Brasília, Brazil, www.myspace.com/lixorama, Saturday, 1am, Club 115
O Quarto das Cinzas, Fortaleza, Brazil, www.tramavirtual.uol.com.br/artista.jsp?id=21718, Thursday, 10pm, Copa
Telerama, Fortaleza, Brazil, www.teleramania.com.br, Saturday, 9pm, Club 115
Monareta, Bogota, Colombia, www.sonicbids.com/epk/epk.asp?epk_id=131163, Wednesday, 1am, Copa