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Another SXSW (recaps from 2010, 2011 & 2012 – comedy to revisit!) came and went; I must confess, I went to Austin kicking and screaming, not wanting to run thru the labyrinth of confectionery displays and the tragerrificness of watching bands come from all over for the madness of shitty sound, ego presenting disconnect and subpar audiences. On the other hand, such a high percentage of colleagues in the biz are in town, both Zuzuka Poderosa and Los Rakas had intimate showcases and a shot at showing their live show to a slew of new folks across different mundos…so Texas was messed with. Friends were seen, new music was absorbed (highlights: Keys N Krates, Las Cafeteras, Red Baraat & lowlights: your most hyped hip-hop crew) and BBQ was had.
I had the fortune to hang out with the good people of Sacramento’s Sol Collective and make homebase a beautiful lakehouse about 25 minutes away from ground zero (aka 6th Street). From there, I was able to wake up with the sun and ripples of the water to calm and prepare for the long days/daze while being surrounded with family: Estella Sanchez (Sol Collective founder) and her family, the folks from Trust Your Struggle and a cast of crazy creative folks.
Running around with artists makes it a little difficult to really see much else at SXSW and with a schedule like this, even more so. But it was a great opportunity to catch up with both Raka Rich, Raka Dun and Zuzuka Poderosa – who I don’t always get to see face-to-face all year in this sort of setting. You are constantly interfacing with folks who may have never heard your band’s music – everyone becomes a hustler. But then, such a high frequency of friends and industry colleagues are around too – so it’s a wonderful time for reunion and re-connecting. Luckily I was able to make some SX homebases, like Converse Rubbertracks mobile studio, FADER Fort and the c3 Virgin Mobile House – with drinks flowing and battery chargers available (and steak tacos!) I also took the time this year to carve out oasis’ of time for meet-ups and dinners, which added a nice pace to the usual madness and took me out of the regular limbo.
What made this year particularly special was helping with some promotion for Sol Collective’s ‘Listen Global. Act Local‘ showcase at Kenny Dorham‘s Backyard next to the Historic Victory Grill, which Austinist called, “one of the most off the map and lovingly curated events of the festival” and featured A Tribe Called Red, Los Rakas, Sonora, Mandeep Sethi, Zuzuka Poderosa w/ King Louie, World Hood, Las Cafeteras, Chorizo Funk, El Indio, DLRN hosted by Andru Defeye. Pop Matters dedicated almost its entire post-SXSW coverage on the mini-festival, in a piece called “SXSW Music: Finding the Diamonds in the (Very) Rough.” I’m so excited for this project to grow in the coming years and add some organic community-minded global programming to SX.
The trip was cut short (and welcome) as I made my way late Friday night of SX to Mexico City for their equivalent to Coachella – Vive Latino – which was a treat! Check the coverage in NPR’s Alt.Latino, Remezcla, Panamerika and MTV Iggy (peep me in the shot for Ari Puello #soyfan) for a well-rounded summary of how great it was! Will definitely be back.
Some photo highlights of the week: Zuzuka Poderosa & Peligrosa’s King Louie @ 505 Warehouse (Photo by Subcomandante Quito)
Los Rakas @ Mixpak vs Tormenta Showcase (Photo via XLR8R)
#LocalGlobalSXSW: Read about it in Pop Matters!
Los Rakas and Sol Collective’s Estella Sanchez @ #GlobalLocalSXSW
Sunshinin’ on myself & Bear Witness from A Tribe Called Red #GlobalLocalSXSW
One of my favorite charachters from SX: Molefi and his Shea Butter!
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