Marianne Dissard is an artist in every sense of the word.
She is a filmmaker, a poet, a singer, and not a single word or movement is wasted. When she plays live, all these elements combine on stage to deliver a story of depression, exhaustion, frustration, intrigue and joy.
The Tucson Music Factory showcase on March 12 at SXSW was the debut of her live collaboration with Budo, a Seattle-based producer and multi-instrumentalist who is known more for his work in Hip Hop circles than World Music.
Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät (Pertti Kurikka's Name Day), a punk band from Finland, is the subject of the documentary "The Punk Syndrome," which won the SXGlobal Audience Award at this year's SXSW Film Festival.
The documentary provides a sincere and honest look at the lives of the four band members, who are all adults living with varying degrees of mental intellectual disabilities.
The band is made up of Pertti Kurikka (guitar), Kari Aalito (vocals), Sami Helle (bass) and Toni Välitalo (drums).
Clément, the lead singer of Paris-based French band Alba Lua, still calls Bordeaux his hometown and loves to talk about life in southwest France. Though they are proudly French, the name of the band is actually a mixture of Spanish and Portugese.
"Alba is the dawn (in Spanish), and Lua is the moon in Portugese... I like the association of the two words and sometimes you can see the moon in the daylight and it has always been beautiful to me."
Iceland's Ásgeir Trausti has taken the music charts in his native country by storm since his debut album, "Dyrd I Daudathogn," came out in September of last year. The presale of his album broke records on Icelandicmusic.com, reached gold sales in six weeks and has since gone platinum.
While some of the musical backing in his songs may sound familiar, the vocal stylings in his native Icelandic make the vocal feel more like a participating instrument than a means to deliver the lyrics.
Lisa LeBlanc's musical idols are from the world of classic rock and metal. They're big rock stars with charisma, many of them men. Her approach to folk music is bold and confrontational, a style that she has deemed "folk trash."
Bajofondo started as a loose collective of musicians from Argentina and Uruguay, but over time formed a solid core of players that have since become a cohesive band. Their latest release, "Presente," consists of twenty one tracks and has a massive sound.
For this CD the group augmented their sound with an enormous orchestral section, giving each of their songs a full and well-rounded sound.
With so many music groups in Austin for SXSW it is easy for any of them to get drowned out by all the noise, but luckily for World Music artists, their foreign musical stylings give them a uniqueness that audiences tend to stop and pay attention to.
The language barrier doesn't seem to matter
Many world groups sing in English in order to tap into the English-speaking market, but there is still a healthy demand for music sung in foreign languages.
Each week on World Music (Saturday nights from 8-10 on KSTX 89.1 FM), I take a look at festivals happening around the world along with the music of the cultures. This week, supernatural celebrations abound in Mexico.
CONGRESO DE BRUJOS
Catemaco, Mexico lies on the Gulf of Mexico in Veracruz. Normally a sedate, drowsy little town, it becomes the center of witchcraft next weekend. The National Congress of Witches will be underway.