Inevitable Influx

Asia, Africa, and everything after


The biggest story in world music this year hardly dented Western media. In October, South African reggae superstar Lucky Dube was killed in a carjacking in his native Johannesburg. Often considered the contemporary successor to Bob Marley, Dube was a powerful voice for peace and social justice on a continent that remains plagued by genocide, famine, and disease and is still perpetually overlooked by the world.

Africa contributes only a small contingent of artists to South by Southwest this year, but most impressive is Iran's representation. In a country where the official doctrine forbids Western-styled shows, simply picking up the mic is a political action, but an increasingly empowered youth culture has begun carving out a rock scene under the regime. Meanwhile, Eastern Bloc countries are beginning to experience a cultural renaissance in film, art, and music as the first generation to grow up post-Cold War comes of age.

Asia is likewise at a cultural crossroads as China's rapidly growing economy provokes a tenuous balance with the inevitable influx of global influences. Though the Asian mainland's rock seems stalled two decades behind, its electronica proves as progressive as anywhere.

Best Bets

Hospital Bombers (Amsterdam): If the name sounds familiar, it's because it was copped from the Mountain Goats' "The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton."

Monotonix (Tel Aviv): New Drag City signees scratch out proggy, feedback-bent jams.

FM3 (China): The Buddha Machine duo comes armed with ambient bliss, lo-fi Zen-pods.

Canadians (Verona): Geographically confused from riding in a Death Cab Built to Spill.

Alamo Race Track (Amsterdam): Come for the quirky, gravely folk of "Black Cat John Brown," but stay for the versatile indie rock.

Zé Dos Frangos (Portugal): Male/female vocals softly intertwine over sparse indie electronics.

White Shoes & the Couples Company (Indonesia): "Jakarta pop" should be branded on the backs of this sextet, twee Camera Obscura female harmonies floating in an easy-swaying breeze.

Rains Down in Africa

Shawn Phillips: The Texas-born ex-pat of 1960s/1970s folk has led a storied career, acclaimed for his progressive stylistic sweep, smart songwriting, and virtuosic guitar.

Chiwoniso: This former member of internationally renowned African hip-hop collective P.O.E. offers an enticing mixture of Shona and English sung over mbira percussion.

Rock Me Ahmadinejad

127: Playfully but skillfully eclectic sixpiece hone their nu-jazz contortions into catchy, swooning odes touched off with Dire Straits-like vocals and sharp brass bursts.

Hypernova: Debut EP questions, Who Says You Can't Rock in Iran? Answer: Not the Strokes.

Tarantist: The quartet smelts droning dark metal with nuclear-reactor riffs and intimidating vocal growls commanding, "Kill Your Father."

Asian Invasion

YB (Korea): Korea's veteran guitar heroes unload 1970s riffs into 1980s glam.

KbN (Taiwan): Short for funK-b-Nice, this group builds any number of genres upon their sparse, experimental electronic base, shifting from suave trip-hop beats to sparse acoustic ballads.

The s.i.g.i.t (Indonesia): The Super Insurgent Group of Intemperance Talent – Zeppelin meets Cheap Trick on Pacific holiday.

Navruz (Uzbekistan): Named for the Zoroastorian New Year, Navruz upholds traditional Uzbeki roots through their Eastern folk.

Eastern Promises

Intuitive Music Orchestra (Russia): Brainchild of Ian Bederman, IMO craft improvised Eastern inflected melodies of world jazz through a diverse string of ethnic instruments.

Mona De Bo (Latvia): A drum and guitar duo of Edgars (Eihmanis and Rubenis), their garagey indie rock is ripped with pent-up blues jam howls.

Volodja Balalorsky (Slovenia): An internationally renowned concert violinist, Balalorsky's strings haunt with an evocatively rich Old World elegance.

Morning Leftovers

Scrambled Eggs (Lebanon): Droning guitar Cure for Lebanese Sonic Youth.

Beangrowers (Malta): Driving pop-rock sizzling behind Alison Galea's sultry and glaring vocals.

The Bloody Beetroots (Italy): Acid-fried Saturday morning mash-ups.

Island Hopping

Cherine Anderson (Jamaica): Dancehall soul driving sultry R&B into traditional reggae beats.

Inner Visions (St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands): Reggae stalwarts bring the good vibes.

Ella Andall (Trinidad & Tobago): Andall's vocals prove equally powerful through Afro-Caribbean chants, old-school soul, and pining ballads.

Red Light District (Netherlands)

Adept: Industrial electronica that thumps ominously sparse behind moaning, distorted chants.

C-Mon & Kypski: Spewing wires onstage like a gutted C-3PO, the quartet samples and scratches across hip-hop, garage pop, and world rhythms.

Do-the-Undo: California dreamin' in dykeland with classic pop tunes.

Lobi Traore & Joep Pelt: Melding Pelt's Delta blues instincts with Traore's Mali roots rhythms, the duo unloads a scatological funk without borders.

Postman: Rapper's fourth album, Green, finds gold.

Isthmus Be Portugal

Bildmeister: Ten-year-old quartet drives rich sonic textures over Brit shoegaze-styled vocals.

David Fonseca: Third album, Dreams in Colour, continues Fonseca's chart-topping success, with trembling, pitch-perfect acoustic pop.

Norton: Downtempo electronic soundscapes feel more Icelandic than Mediterranean.

Kalashnikov: Irreverent punk quartet carpet bombs "war time rock & roll."


FM3, Beijing, China,, Friday, 1am, the Hideout

The s.i.g.i.t, Bandung, Indonesia,, Thursday, 12mid, B.D. Riley's

White Shoes & the Couples Company, Jakarta, Indonesia, www.whiteshoes, Saturday, 12mid, Habana Calle 6 Annex

Hypernova, Tehran, Iran,, Saturday, 12mid, Wave

127, Tehran, Iran,, Thursday, 9pm, Habana Calle 6 Annex

Tarantist, Tehran, Iran,, Wednesday, 12mid, Red 7

YB, Seoul, Korea,, Thursday, 9pm, Bourbon Rocks

KbN, Taipei, Taiwan,, Saturday, 8pm, Elysium

Navruz, Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Wednesday, 9pm, Copa


Boubacar Diebate, Boulder, Senegal,, Saturday, 9:10pm, Copa

Shawn Phillips, Port Elizabeth, South Africa,, Thursday, 12mid, Stephen F's Bar

Chiwoniso, Harare, Zimbabwe,, Saturday, 10:20pm, Copa


Monotonix, Tel Aviv, Israel,, Friday, 12:50am, Flamingo Cantina

The Bloody Beetroots, Bassano del Grappa, Italy,, Saturday, 11pm, Vice

Canadians, Verona, Italy,, Saturday, 8pm, Cedar Door

The Second Grace, Sicily, Italy,, Saturday, 8:30pm, Stephen F's Bar

Vanilla Sky, Roma, Italy,, Saturday, 8pm, Wave

Mona De Bo, Riga, Latvia,, Thursday, 10pm, B.D. Riley's

Scrambled Eggs, Beirut, Leban,, Thursday, 8pm, Red 7

Beangrowers, St. Julians, Malta,, Saturday, 8pm, Habana Calle 6 Annex

Alamo Race Track, Amsterdam, Netherlands,, Saturday, 1am, Habana Calle 6

Adept, Groningen, Netherlands,, Friday, 10pm, Karma Lounge

Aux Raus, Amsterdam, Netherlands,, Friday, 11pm, Karma Lounge

C-Mon & Kypski, Utrecht, Netherlands,, Friday, 1am, Karma Lounge

Do-the-Undo, Amsterdam, Netherlands,, Saturday, 9pm, Habana Calle 6 Annex

Hospital Bombers, Amsterdam, Netherlands,, Saturday, 7pm, Habana Calle 6 Annex

Lobi Traore & Joep Pelt, Amsterdam, Netherlands,, Thursday, 8pm, Momo's

Moke, Amsterdam, Netherlands,, Wednesday, 9pm, Bourbon Rocks

Postman, Amsterdam, Netherlands,, Friday, 12mid, Karma Lounge

Bildmeister, Vila Do Conde, Portugal,, Thursday, 10pm, Habana Calle 6

David Fonseca, Lisbon, Portugal,, Friday, 8pm, 18th Floor @ Hilton Gardens

Kalashnikov, Lisbon, Portugal,, Wednesday, 8pm, Bourbon Rocks

Norton, Castelo Branco, Portugal,, Saturday, 10pm, Club 115

Zé Dos Frangos, Lisbon, Portugal,, Thursday, 8pm, Copa

Intuitive Music Orchestra, Moscow, Russia,, Wednesday, 10pm, Copa

Volodja Balzalorsky, Ljubljana, Slovenia,, Friday, 9pm, St. David's Church


Inner Visions, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands,, Wednesday, 11pm, Fadó

Ella Andall, Arima, Trinidad and Tobago,, Saturday, 12:45am, Copa

Cherine Anderson, Kingston, Jamaica,, Saturday, 10pm, Flamingo Cantina

The 2021-2022 Austin Music Awards Music Poll is underway. Vote now for your favorite bands, venues, and music until January 31.

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