AUSTIN, Texas – Cuba will play a key role at the 30th edition of the South by Southwest, or SXSW, music festival in this central Texas city starting on Friday, with performances by five bands traveling from the communist island for the occasion.
Organizers of the festival, one of the most important U.S. cultural industry showcases, announced Monday the participation of Telmary, Yissy & Bandancha, Dayme Arocena, X Alfonso and Kelvis Ochoa, five groups that will perform on March 18 at the Sounds of Cuba event.
“This is not the first time we have bands from Cuba showcasing at SXSW, but it is the first time we have a Sounds from Cuba showcase, and an entire night dedicated to bands that currently reside (in) and don’t plan to leave Cuba,” said SXAmericas Latino music organizer Alicia Zertuche.
She told EFE that organizing the Sounds of Cuba “has been very complicated” given that “the (U.S.) embargo continues” in place against Cuba despite the thawing in relations between the Caribbean island and Washington.
Cuba will join countries such as Colombia and Spain, who will also have their own showcase events at the festival with the participation of groups such as Systema Solar and The Parrots, respectively.
In Cuba’s case, the groups come from the hip-hop and jazz genres, styles that are intimately linked to the island’s musical tradition and mixing its past with its present.
The SXSW film, music and technology festival will run for 10 days in the Texas capital and is projected to attract some 300,000 people and more than 2,200 artists from all over the world.