For International Women's Day: 10 fantastic female artists playing SXSW
For artists around the globe, the South by Southwest Music Festival is a destination event, a place to make connections and share their sounds with the whole world. This year, over 600 artists will travel to the U.S. for the festival. Many of them are top tier talent in their home countries.
You can check out our full SXSW world music preview here, and in honor of International Women's Day, here are 10 fantastic female artists from staff writers Deborah Sengupta Stith and Nancy Flores and Michael Crockett, host of KUTX show, "Horizontes."
Mojo Juju. (Melbourne, Australia). “I don’t speak my father’s native tongue/I was born under the Southern sun/I don’t know where I belong/I don’t know where I belong,” the Australian artist with Filipino roots sings on “Native Tongue,” the haunting title track from her superb 2018 release. The song, like the whole album, is centered around a personal narrative of her grandmother’s struggle to discover her father’s identity, but as her voice cracks with emotion, she weaves a story that cuts to the heart for anyone who’s ever felt misplaced. She uses a mixture of funky dance cuts and emotional wringers to explore ideas of otherness and resilient love throughout the thoroughly compelling release. (4 p.m. March 13, International Day Stage at Austin Convention Center; 12:45 a.m. March 14, Parker Jazz Club) — D.S.S.
Lolita De Sola (Caracas, Venezuela). She’s one of the few Venezuelan artists at SXSW and brings an alternative pop style to the stage that blends jazz, electronic and pop music. Lolita De Sola, like many Venezuelan artists lately, recently left the South American country in political turmoil and now resides in Mexico. (10 p.m. at CU29) — N.F.
Combo Chimbita (NYC/Colombia). Describing themselves as “tropical futurists,” this Brooklyn band’s members are all originally from Colombia. Their music is anchored in cumbia and other Afro-Colombian rhythms but also mixed with psychedelic sounds and driven by the soulful vocals of singer Carolina Oliveros. The band plays several times during SXSW, and you can catch them first here. (9 p.m. at Mohawk Indoors) —M.C.
Lizzo. (Minneapolis, U.S.A.) The bombastic booty-moving sensation from Minneapolis will bring the “Juice” to get you loose, the soaring hooks to lift your spirits and the feel-good vibes to make your festival experience “Good As Hell.” She sings. She raps. She breaks it down. She blows your mind. Attending a Lizzo performance is an act of self-love. Do yourself right. (12:30 a.m. March 14, Stubb’s)
Mabiland. (Medellín, Colombia) You don’t need to speak Spanish to feel the power of the Colombian singer and rapper’s work. Her voice drips with lust, breaks with passion and reaches in to seize your heart. The 22-year-old artist dropped her debut release “1995” last year and went on to thrill sold out crowds in her hometown, Medellín as well as the Colombian capital, Bogotá. (4:30 p.m. March 14, Flatstock Stage at Austin Convention Center; 9 p.m. March 14 at Speakeasy; 11:05 p.m. March 15 at Half Step) — D.S.S.
Marta Pereira da Costa (Lisbon, Portugal). Marta Pereira Da Costa is recognized as the first female virtuoso of the guitarra portuguesa, a double-stringed, teardrop-shaped guitar used in the accompaniment of fado, the national music of Portugal. With her band, Pereira da Costa has extended the boundaries of the instrument into the realms of world music and jazz as well. (9 p.m. at Victorian Room at the Driskill) — M.C.
Eme Alfonso (Havana, Cuba). The daughter of the founders of the legendary Cuban fusion band Síntesis, singer Eme Alfonso, along with her brother, X Alfonso, started in her parents' band before embarking on her own career, and she still carries on the tradition of mixing Afro-Cuban music with the modern sounds of jazz, rock and electronic music. (10:35 p.m., Parker Jazz Club; noon at Radio Day Stage at the Convention Center) — M.C.
Karol Conka (Curitiba, Brazil). Her pessimism-squashing songs have blazed a trail for black, female Brazilian rappers and singers. Karol Conka takes on topics such as self-esteem and doing things your own way in her music that mixes hip-hop, R&B and Brazilian pop. (11 p.m. Palm Door on Sixth; midnight March 15, Lucille) — N.F.
Jojo Abot (Volta Region, Ghana). In the video for “Alime,” the Ghanaian artist twists her body fiercely to an electronic assault of rhythm that gives way to a dark dance track with a melody that floats over the chaos. She rocks a red frock with an elaborate beaded collar laid on top, then a metallic mesh dress. Her lips are painted blue, and her hands are painted gold. She creates an artistically immersive experience that draws you in. (Part of the Africa to the World Showcase, Time TBA at Highland Lounge; 11 p.m. March 14 at Flamingo Cantina; 10:30 p.m. March 15 at Palm Door on Sixth) — D.S.S.
Chai (Nagoya, Japan). Last year, the boppy power pop group formed by a pair of identical twin sisters and two friends signed a distribution deal with U.S. indie label Burger Records, which featured them on their SXSW 2018 showcases. Those shows landed a U.K. deal for the group, and they come into the fest this year as one of the buzzier international acts on the bill. (9:50 p.m. at Native Hostel; 2 p.m. March 14 at Container Bar; 1:05 a.m. March 14 at Cheer Up Charlies; 7:15 p.m. March 16 at Hotel Vegas Patio.) — D.S.S.