SXSW Music Spotlight: Los Bitchos
International quartet pops the cork on Latin dance-folk
Like the British Invasion re-landing on these shores in the Sixties armed with American R&B, Los Bitchos arrive in Texas for the first time bearing a Lone Star and all-points-South (American) soundtrack: cumbia. Produced by Franz Ferdinand frontman Alex Kapranos, the London foursome’s debut Let the Festivities Begin! popped the cork last month on contemporized Latin dance-folk, those Indigenous rhythms of the Americas fused with European musical traditions from Spanish conquistadors plus influences from enslaved African people. Now boomerang it all back to ATX.
“Growing up in cold and wintery Sweden, I find that cumbia transports me to tropical warmer weather and a culture very far from the one I grew up in,” emails bassist Josefine Jonsson.
Drummer Nic Crawshaw hails from the group’s island of origin, while guitarist Serra Petale reps Australia, and singer/keytarist Agustina Ruiz leads the cumbia charge by waving the Uruguayan flag. Polled about cumbia capitals for future dream tours, the frontwoman votes for Bogotá, and the time-keeper, who reveals Los Bitchos canceled their Live Music Capital visa when SXSW 2020 went down, nominates Peru.
“Cumbia was a big inspiration for springboarding the concept of Los Bitchos, along with many other influences such as Turkish psych, pop, shoegaze, rock,” offers Petale. “It’s interesting to witness how all these influences worked alongside one another throughout our debut.”
Psychedelic slink of international origins anchors the band as equally as cumbia, so their collaboration with modern Dutch mystics Altin Gün makes perfect sense. So would a bill alongside Texan ascendants Khruangbin, who Jonsson applauds. Ruiz mentions London twosome Audiobooks.
“The album showcases some of the first songs ever written for Los Bitchos,” writes Petale. “Alex brought a great, fresh perspective about songwriting and production. He put so much of himself into this record, as did we, and I think that’s what made it so magical.”
Tuesday, March 15, 12mid, Cedar Street Courtyard
Wednesday, March 16, 1am, Cheer Up Charlies
Friday, March 18, 12mid, Augustine
Saturday, March 19, 12mid, Sellers
File Under: Buzzy