SXSWORLD November 2012


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Small Country, Big Sounds: Uruguay's Acts Earn Audiences and Acclaim by Claudia Alarcon T loyalty of a local audience and the right conditions to cross over to new listeners. Legendary outfi t El Cuarteto de Nos has been raking in awards and nominations, with its last three albums, Rare (2006), Bipolar (2009) and Porfi ado (2012) all being nominated for Latin Grammy Awards. Th e group has dominated the alternative rock scene in Uruguay since the mid '80s and is well-known for irreverent lyrics ripe with irony and sarcasm backed by an indescribable, infectious musical blend. Th e band has traveled far and wide across Latin America with a live show characterized by audio-visual and theatrical strength. In addition, the video clip for the single "Ya no sé qué hacer conmigo" has almost six million views on YouTube. Similarly, Max Capote (the artistic name of Montevideo native boasts a large number of musicians of striking quality and diversity," says Diego Traverso, Coordinator of Uruguay's Department of Creative Endeavors, a public offi ce that promotes the country's cultural and creative off erings. "Th ey range from traditional genres like candombe to tango, and composers ranging from folk to electronica and rock, creating a very special blend and musical eff ervescence that emanates from every corner of the country." Uruguayan music seems to have found a balance between the Often overshadowed by its larger and better-known neighbors, Argentina and Brazil, Uruguay is actually an equally interesting cultural melting pot. Vibrant, metropolitan Montevideo is the epicenter of a rich arts, food and cultural scene, as well as being a happening place for music. With Uruguayan bands earning six Latin Grammy nominations in 2012, it seems likely that this South American nation of three million people will soon enter the radar of a wider global audience. "Despite citizen, Uruguay may be something of a mystery. o the average American its small size, Uruguay Max Capote Malena Muyala In February 2013, he will follow-up with a new release Aperitivo de moda, as well as with aggressive touring in Latin America, Europe, Mexico and the U.S., including a stop at SXSW: "By participating in SXSW, I will hopefully continue to promote my songs and make new friends, which is my favorite thing about festivals, especially one of this magnitude," Capote says, "But what makes me happy is that Uruguayan music is represented, which is very important in order to show what is happening musically in my country, so small, but with a strong and remarkably creative wealth of music, regardless of genre." On the fl ip side of the stylistic coin, the world," says Muyala about her plans to visit Austin in March. "It fi lls me with pride and thrills me to be able to show part of our culture. Th is music is the heartbeat of my land." Another highly anticipated performer is CAMPO, a new musical Malena Muyala is a songstress who performs in the traditional style of the Rio de la Plata region, combining tangos, milongas and waltzes along with candombe in her compositions. "It's a great opportunity to be in a festival of the magnitude and excellence as SXSW and represent our music that distinguishes us around Fabián Acosta) has all the tools to capture an international, non- Spanish speaking audience. His loungey blend of styles ranging from bolero to bossa nova, salsa and jazz will certainly please fans of Beck and Señor Coconut, regardless of the language they speak. "After my nomination for Best New Artist at the Latin Grammy Awards 2011, I started developing an audience in the U.S. and Mexico," says Capote, who followed this success by signing with Mexico's Intolerancia label for release of his current album, Chicle. 30 SXSW ORLD / N OVEMBER 2012 project from the Bajofondo Collective, founded by Latin Grammy winner Juan Campodónico and Argentinian Academy Award-winning composer and SXSW veteran Gustavo Santaolalla. Th e band features a group of diverse musicians from a wide variety of musical and geographical backgrounds, including a guest appearance by Uruguay's successful singer-songwriter Jorge Drexler, who is based in Spain. Th e group's self-defi ned "sub-tropical" sound combines traditional South American styles like tango and cumbia with indie pop's melodic energy and hints of electronica, a la Gotan Project. Th ey sing in both Spanish and English, which should help them reach a wider audience in the U.S. Campodónico has also produced the last two records from El Cuarteto de Nos, bringing the Uruguayan scene full circle. "Our artists have started to travel outside our borders and to such an important event." ■ Stay tuned to in the coming months for more information about SXSW Music 2013. participate in international events as platforms for their development," says Traverso. "Participating in SXSW defi nitely takes us on that path, and we're all very excited to represent as a country in RAFAEL LEJTREGER BERNADETTE LAITANO

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