The Argentines were represented on both ends of the musical spectrum with the mature and the seasoned and the new and eclectic. The electro tango collective known as Bajofondo played its first South by Southwest to a packed audience at Auditorium Shores that was soon won over by the eight-member ensemble led by Gustavo Santaolalla. In an interview Santaolalla gave this week, the two-time Oscar-winning composer spoke of how music was the incarnation of the spiritual. He and Bajofondo proved this true by seducing the audience. Javier Casalla began with the plaintive call of a weepy violin, Martín Ferrés coming in with a flirtatious bandoneón (similar to a concertina). Before you knew it, the band bumped into a contemporary dance party, a wise choice given the broad audience, though it never left its roots behind. The elegance of tango was always present. Once the crowd was won over, Bajofondo effortlessly careened into a mash-up of tango, rap, and scratch, escalating into a frenzy that magically returned to the bedrock tango. Comparatively, the band's Argentine brethren Banda de Turistas are younger but hardly wet behind the ears. Solidly pop-oriented with boy-band vocals, they have a dreamy quality with a solid drive of energy beneath them. They performed to a small but appreciative audience, earning more fans when they beckoned the crowd to move closer: "Let's be friends and dance." Weaving from psi-dance, veering to trance, and finally ending on rock & roll, the youngbloods made a lasting impression.
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