The countdown to the music portion of Austin’s South by Southwest (SXSW) festival has begun.

I, for one, cannot wait to head down for that warm southern sunshine, delicious Tex-Mex food, and most importantly–tons of live performances. And by tons I mean there are more than 2,000 acts performing at more than a hundred venues across Austin in less than a week’s time.

Mexican-American singer songwriter Alejandro Escovedo, seen here performing at SXSW in 2013, will be making a repeat appearance this year (Photograph by Lisa Walker)

Mexican-American legend Alejandro Escovedo, seen here performing at SXSW in 2013, will be making a repeat appearance this year (Photograph by Lisa Walker)

SXSW is known for being a launchpad for American performers such as John Mayer and the Polyphonic Spree, but each year, the lineup seems to feature more and more international acts.

It may be a music lover’s dream, but it can also be a bit overwhelming.

If you’re heading to Texas tickets in hand or simply looking for some hot new leads, here’s our guide to world music at SXSW:

> International Day Stage

When: Wednesday, March 12-Saturday, March 15 (12-5 p.m.)
Where: Austin Convention Center (500 E. Cesar Chavez Street), Ballroom G on the fourth floor

This is the big daddy of SXSW’s world music offerings, featuring performers from every continent (except Antarctica), including Mothercoat (Japan), Pommez Internacional (Argentina), The Mary Onettes (Sweden), Rebel Cats (Mexico), Gochag Askorav Ensemble (Azerbaijan), Imarhan Timbuktu & Sihasin (Mali & Navajo Indian), and Dune Rats (Australia).

> Sounds from the World Showcase

Where: Russian House (307 E. 5th Street)
When: Wednesday, March 12-Friday, March 14; Performances begin at 8 p.m.

Musicians perform on the streets of Austin (Photograph by Lisa Walker)

Musicians perform on the streets of Austin (Photograph by Lisa Walker)

Some of the artists from the International Day Stage overlap with this showcase so if you don’t catch them during the day, here’s another opportunity to see them perform live.

Stop by to see artists such as the Austin-based, Middle-Eastern-influenced Atash, Chilean singer Nano Stern, Mexican jazz group Troker, and all-female mariachi band from Texas, Mariachi Las Alteñas.

> Irish Music Showcase

Where: Maggie Mae’s (512 Trinity Street)
When: Wednesday, March 12, starting at 8 p.m.

Catch Dott, Wonder Villians, The Young Folk, September Girls, Wounds, Kid Karate, and more on Wednesday night. Keep the Celtic spirit going on Friday morning with a “full Irish breakfast” at B.D. Riley’s (204 E. 6th Street).

> Rock Paper Scissors World Music Showcase

When: Saturday, March 15, starting at 8 p.m.
Where: Russian House

This showcase lineup includes Israeli singer-songwriter Dudu Tassa, Netherlands group K i T (Kuenta i Tambú), and Canadian DJ crew A Tribe Called Red.

> WOMEX (short for WOrld Music EXpo) Showcase

When: Thursday, March 13
Where: Flamingo Cantina (515 E. 6th Street)

Artists will include British born Colombian master Quantic, South Korean Jambinai, and French/North African music masters Lo’Jo.

> globalFEST at SXSW

When: Friday, March 14
Where: Speakeasy (412 Congress Avenue)

Tuareg "desert blues" band Terakaft performing at SXSW in 2013 (Photograph by Lisa Walker)

Tuareg “desert blues” band Terakaft performing at SXSW in 2013 (Photograph by Lisa Walker)

Check out this free showcase featuring Latin mambo big band Sergio Mendoza y La Orkesta and Tinariwen, desert rockers from Mali who have become a festival favorite.

> SXAméricas Showcases and Parties

When: Tuesday, March 11-Saturday, March 15
Where: Various locations

This series of Latin American music showcases features sounds from Uruguay, Chile, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Ibero-America, and Spain. Check the schedule for full details.

> The Aussie BBQ

When: Saturday, March 15th from 12-6 p.m.
Where: Maggie Mae’s (323 E. 6th Street)

Sample the best Australian talent at the festival, along with a side of spare ribs.

Lisa A. Walker is a book production manager at National Geographic. Follow her story on Twitter @walkersvibes.

Comments

  1. Shawn
    Washington, D.C.
    March 12, 8:03 am

    Great article…looks like the place to be. Thank you for sharing…picutures are fantastic.