It’s no secret that Latin music typically doesn’t have a large footprint at the Austin City Limits Music Festival. In 2017, Austin360 questioned why no Latin music acts were booked that year.
For the next two weekends, though, a handful of strong Latina performers are ready to rock this year’s ACL fest. We hope this means more inclusive future festivals and a bigger boost of diverse musical offerings to come, especially as the city’s Latino population continues to grow.
Music builds bridges, and no matter the language or cultural influences of a song, everyone can feel the beat.
Bringing genre-bending grooves to the fest this time are two much-buzzed-about performers: R&B pop star Kali Uchis and flamenco fusion artist Rosalía. Both offer distinct styles, but share a unique power in connecting with all music lovers.
Spain’s Rosalía has catapulted to stardom by creating a flamenco-inspired sound for a new generation. She’s garnered more Latin Grammy nominations than any other female artist and her “Con Altura” video has surpassed 900 million views, leaving music videos like “Old Town Road” in the dust. It’s YouTube’s most-viewed music video by a female artist so far this year.
Rosalía studied flamenco under a prestigious professor at the Catalonia College of Music. Knowing all of flamenco's rules, she has said, helps her understand how to break them. Rosalía infuses flamenco with doses of hip hop, electronic beats, and pop. Her sophomore album “El Mal Querer" is up for album of the year at the Latin Grammys.
Rosalía performs at 4 p.m. both Sundays at the Honda stage.
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ACL fest alumna Kali Uchis returns to Zilker Park this year after her festival debut in 2015. But much has changed for the Colombian American artist since then. Kali Uchis went on tour with Lana Del Rey, performed at Coachella, collaborated with mega Colombian star Juanes, earned a Grammy and Latin Grammy nod along the way, and last spring released her full-length debut album “Isolation.”
Her love of funk, pop, bossa nova and sugary R&B shine through in her latest record, where every song seems representative of a different genre. That makes sense for the bicultural and bilingual artist who keeps redefining what it means to be a Latina in the musical spotlight.
Kali Uchis performs at 5 p.m. both Saturdays at the Miller Lite stage.
Here are some more acts to check out:
Natalia Lafourcade (5 p.m. both Saturdays at Vrbo stage): She’s part of an important wave of female Mexican singer-songwriters. Her latest album, “Musas,” pays homage to legendary Latin American songwriters. Lafourcade is no stranger to Austin. She’s a South by Southwest alumna and also taped an episode of "Austin City Limits."
Monsieur Periné (3:30 p.m. both Fridays at Tito’s Handmade Vodka stage): Rising Colombian stars recently earned the best new artist Latin Grammy. They’re masters at blending traditional Latin American rhythms and with jazz, pop and swing music. They’re sure to bring the feel-good tropical breeze vibe to the festival.
Diamante Eléctrico (11:45 a.m. Saturday at T-Mobile stage; 1:15 p.m. Oct. 12 at Vrbo stage): Colombian rock trio and Latin Grammy winners represent the best of today’s rock en español.
Kim Viera (1:15 p.m Friday at BMI stage): She got her start performing viral covers on YouTube. Now the Nuyorican rising pop star is working with artists like Pitbull and Daddy Yankee.
Cardi B (8 p.m. Sunday at Honda stage): She’s only around for weekend one, so catch one of the country’s top female rappers while you can.
Vanessa Zamora (11:45 a.m. Oct. 12 at BMI stage): This Mexican singer-songwriter and producer debuted at SXSW in 2016 with her heartfelt lyrics and authentic folk-pop sound.
Ley Line (12:45 p.m. Oct. 13 at Tito’s Handmade Vodka stage): Austin-based multilingual quartet is inspired by global sounds from Brazil and the rest of Latin America.