South By Southwest connects Austinites to almost every continent in the world from Niger to Sweden. International musicians will travel thousands of miles to play at the festival, offering a wide range of sounds that celebrate different cultures. Below, The Daily Texan suggests five international bands to catch this week.
Bombino – Agadez, Niger
Omara “Bombino” Moctar is a guitarist and singer-songwriter that has received international acclaim. As a Tuareg, an ethnic group indigenous to North Africa, Bombino uses his signature desert rock to address geopolitical concerns and was the subject of the 2010 documentary “Agadez, the Music and Rebellion” directed by Ron Wyman. All his songs are sung in the Tuareg language, and the exotic appeal led his last album Nomad to debut as No. 1 on the iTunes World Chart.
Jack Garratt – Little Chalfont, United Kingdom
British singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jack Garratt released his first album, Phase, in February 2016. He wrote, recorded and produced the album which debuted at No. 3 on the U.K. albums charts. As the winner of the Critics’ Choice Award category at the 2016 Brit Awards, the newcomer’s lyrics have the ability to impress.
Dolce – Umea, Sweden
Anna Levander’s vocal and Leopold Nilsson’s electronic talents come together to form Dolce. With a catalog of songs sung in various languages, Dolce released their first song “Hand i Hand” in Swedish and then flipped to English in “Inez Palema.” After the tracks started gaining success, the duo debuted their EP Gröna Höjder, a collection of singles that show how language doesn’t have to be a barrier between musicians and their followers.
Methyl Ethel – Perth, Australia
Glam-rock group Methyl Ethel evolved from bedroom recordings to recipients of the Pop Song of the Year in 2014 at the Western Australia Awards. Frontman Jake Webb recorded and released the EP Teeth in 2014. The name comes from methyl ethyl ketone peroxide, a product Webb’s father used in his fiberglass projects.
Known for songs like “Rogues,” the group’s eclectic live performances have already received acclaim from Rolling Stone, NME and The Guardian.
Marlon Williams & The Yarra Benders – Christchurch, New Zealand
Williams’ easygoing character is expressed through the revelatory, androgynous lyrics of his single “When I Was a Young Girl.” His fusion of folk, country, soul, bluegrass and the blues in his album, Marlon Williams captivates audiences with acoustic sounds and lyrics that discuss gender fluidity.
Marlon Williams & The Yarra Benders have been nominated for five New Zealand Music Awards and sold out their album release tours.