#SXSW #Mundaka #NaiaValdez #surfrock #andeansounds

As we wish for another cold winter to end, those of us who love music and live in colder climates look forward to the month of March just so we can get away to the hot temps of Austin, TX for SXSW, one of the biggest festivals around which reunites music acts (and all types of artists) from all around the world. The platform provides a great opportunity learn about new artists from places like Mexico, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, and Peru, to name a few. No matter where you end up at #SXSW you’re guaranteed to hear something that will blow you away. In this case, here are two artists to look out for…

Folk singer Naïa Valdez and surf rock band Mundaka will be the only two performers representing Peru at SXSW 2019. Mundaka formed part of the festival in 2016 Mundaka but newcomer Naïa will make her official debut.

Naïa Valdez is part of a large group of independent female artists emerging from the Peruvian music community. Among her contemporaries are Nuria Saba, Diana Salas, Lorena Blume and Clara Yolks. These passionate artists are combining their love for traditional folk music with modern music styles, in effect creating a new movement of sound, differentiating them from standard mainstream music.

In a brief interview with Naïa, just after an intimate set she presented in her home in Lima, she shared her thoughts about her upcoming trip to Texas.

“It is a great honor and privilege to have been chosen from thousands of entries to be part of this festival. It brings me joy and happiness to be able to represent my country by showing my love for music.”

“It’s nerve-wrecking knowing that in such short time I have to connect with a new crowd. I’m planning on showing what best represents my art… playing some folk, pop and even huaynos (traditional Andean music ). I feel that this way I’ll be able to not only showcase part of me, but also part of my wonderful country.”

Naïa is also looking forward to seeing other bands, one of them being Chilean musician Yorka, who will be performing at the same venue on March 15th. (There’s also high expectation for a jam session with Mundaka in one of her sets. “Fingers crossed!”)

Mundaka has also been exploring new sounds in Lima. Labeled under the umbrella of surf rock, that term doesn’t necessarily even begin to describe the variety of sounds you’ll experience during one of their energetic sets. I was lucky enough to catch up with them before they left for SXSW.

From what I know, Mundaka’s name comes from a Hindu sacred text or a northern city in Spain, but it turns out the name was chosen for a completely different reason. The name refers to an extreme sports video game – Kelly Slater’s Pro Surfer. It comes from lead singer Rodrigo’s memories of his youth playing it so much that the name stuck.

This is Mundaka’s second visit to SXSW. Having learned from their past experience the quartet is way better prepared this time. “We were young and inexperienced back in 2017. This year we are less nervous and have adjusted our showcase for the audience. We think our Latin sounds will call out to those who aren’t necessarily there to see you, but become curious of what is to come.”

During our conversation a question was thrown to Rodrigo that I did not expect at all to hear, “Did you get permission from work to travel, being a doctor and all?”

“A doctor?” I though to myself. “He sings, he writes and also saves lives??” I kept thinking. I was a little shocked but also doubtful of the importance of his profession in comparison to music. I had to ask…

If the opportunity arose to make music and leave medicine, would you do it?

“Absofuckinglutely.”

You can catch Naïa Valdez and Mundaka this week at SXSW and listen to their latest releases on all platforms.

Mundaka at Speakeasy Kabaret (Official SXSW Showcase)

Wed 13th March – 12:30 AM

Venue: Speakeasy Kabaret, 412 Congress Ave.

Mundaka at Embassy Suites Hotel

Sat 16th March – 6:00  PM

Venue: Embassy Suites Hotel, 300 South Congress Avenue

Naïa Valdez at Bufallo Billiards

Tue 12th March – 10:00  PM

Venue: Buffalo Billiards, 201 E 6th St.

Naïa Valdez at Stephen’s Bar

Wed 13th March – 12:00  AM

Stephen’s Bar, 701 Congress Ave

Naïa Valdez at Austin Girls Rock

Fri 15th March – 3:00  PM

Venue: Batch Craft Beer & Kolaches, 3220 Manor Rd

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