Putumayoalbums are impossible to miss. Since it first appeared on store shelves, the series has featured the distinctive, colorful artwork of Nicola Heindl. Each musical track is exotic and always melodic.
Spanish flamenco singer Concha Buika says the key to her music is singing with a "beautiful idea" and "really big desire." Born on the Spanish island of Majorca to parents who fled their home in Equatorial Guinea, Buika performs music that transcends boundaries of language and race.
Ásgeir Trausti hoped to be a professional track and field athlete but his plans were detailed by various sporting injuries. He became a professional musician instead and quickly rose to to top of the Icelandic music scene.
All the words to his songs are composed by his 72-year-old father and are filled with lyric romanticism.
His first album, "Dyrd I Daudathogn," (In The Silence) is sung completely in Icelandic, he hopes to reach a broader audience with an all English version of the album currently in the works.
"I got used to notoriety early," said Carla Bruni in an interview with the British newspaper, The Telegraph. So there's nothing holding her back as she sings little songs about her former life, and romantic entanglement with a very famous pop star of the sixties.
Tokyo-based Kao=S (pronounced 'kaus' - like house) mixes modern acoustic rock guitar riffs with the tsugaru syamisen - a traditional Japanese string instrument - accompanied by the shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute) and Japanese sword performance.
The band is made up of Kaori (vocal/sword performance), Shuji (guitar/vocal), Jack (tsugaru syamisen and Daisuke (shakuhachi).
"Me and Jack played together in a different [group] and I met Shuji [when] I went to Shuji's live show and I talked to him [and said], 'Let's play together,'" Kaori said.
For his latest album, "In Focus?," Shugo Tokumaru maintained complete control over the creative process and played all the instruments on the recorded disk. In order to perform live, however, he needed some help, and had his band to back him up.
While the band delivered the songs with energy, complete with the subtle textural nuances that give Shugo's songs a little something special, he was visibly focused on the other two musicians during their performance the afternoon of March 14.
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.