Powerhouse Colombian bands take over SXSW showcase

Colombia's Monophonicos performed at Speakeasy Thursday night during SXSW 2015.
Colombia’s Monophonicos performed at Speakeasy Thursday night during SXSW 2015.

Nothing could stop the party at the Sounds of Colombia showcase at Speakeasy on Thursday night – not even sound issues.

So, what did rock band Monophonicos do when they encountered technical difficulties during their set? Instead of sulking, they gave cumbia lessons! I’ve seen many too many South by Southwest bands completely stop engaging with the audience when something goes wrong. Because of timing, the band went on without a sound check and had to fix things as they went along. But while they were testing and working out the sound kinks during the show, it was impressive to see how that didn’t take away from the audience experience too much. The band’s professionalism and enthusiasm were key. Someone who walked in at that moment probably wouldn’t have noticed anything was wrong judging only by the crowd’s reaction.

Monophonicos kept the party going by improvising songs, giving dance lessons and keeping the crowd pumped and entertained with their high-energy set that fused Colombian folk with contemporary beats.

Following Monophonicos, Colombia’s Zalama Crew took over the Speakeasy with an explosion of musical mash-ups. The three MCs stepped on staged backed with two DJs, drummer, saxophonist and…wait for it…a flautist. A flute in a hip hop/reggae outfit? Absolutely, genius.

They owned the stage and the crowd with their infectious blend of Afro-Colombian sounds, catchy hooks and master showmanship. Zalama Crew is one of my SXSW’s bands to watch.

The Sounds from Colombia full lineup included pop artist Rakel, salsa-funk band La Sabrosura, rock outfit Zionstereo and DJ collective El Freaky.

 

Author: Nancy Flores

Nancy Flores is a features writer who covers general assignments including Latino culture for the Austin American-Statesman and Austin360.

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