CJLO x SXSW 2019: World Music Recap

Photo: Sea Moya

It’s time to digest our street meat and musical discoveries from this seemingly never-ending music-at-every-corner festival and conference 2019.

My path was clear. Network, learn, explore, and discover. That being said, the real problem was the actual road. I expected taxi bikes and police blockades but this SXSW added a twist: the dockless electric scooter. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, swerve your drunk ass to a show even faster, and dock it, well, anywhere. I come off hating but deep down inside I wanted to give it a swirl. Maybe next year, for now let’s get to the music.

I love Sea Moya. They are beautiful humans who share their world. On stage, Sea Moya exude rich textures of funky rhythms, dreamy vocals, and synthesized pleasure, such as the ones heard on “The Long Run” and “Blown (feat. Thanya Iyer)”. Off stage, they generously embrace you with warm hugs and invite you on a magical tour van into the heart of Austin, Texas and into the charming green-picket-fence-of-agave-and-wild-herbs home of friends Jessica and Kate, who have bands stay at their place and throw yard parties equipped with bonfires and warm sweater, who subsequently invited me to stay over anytime I come back to Austin. [breath in] That was nice. I pondered, “is this what people do in Austin?”, as I inhaled some unidentifiable yet delicious smoke. And just like that I became part of the Sea Moya experience. For the full Sea Moya experience, check out their album Falmenta today.

Before I knew it I was joining Sea Moya and awesome a-f tour manager, Vivien, to the Hamburg day event followed by Levitation Day Party and ultimately to Gorilla vs Bear Showcase to witness the power and magic of Montreal’s own, Anemone.

Dreamy rock ‘n’ roll in its truest fashion, Anemone’s vocalist and songwriter, Chloé Soldevila,  had me mesmerized. Top picks include “She’s the One” and “Vanilla (Here We Go Again)” off their new release, Beat My Distance. Side note, drummer and producer, Miles Dupire Gagnon (Anemone, Elephant Stone) is a genius. Anemone loves you and CJLO loves you too.

Having kicked myself for missing Nubya Garcia perform Jazz Re:freshed Outernational last year, I made it a point to attend this year’s showcase. Buzzwords “neo jazz” and “modern UK jazz” were flying about. Written in lowercase, jazz re:freshed is a movement dedicated to showcasing and supporting forward thinking jazz artists. Nubya Garcia is noted on her about page as “one of the leading forces behind the resurgence of jazz-influenced sounds in the UK.” All I know is, Nubya Garcia is one fierce tenor saxophonist and she is playing with NÉRIJA tonight.

To my dismay, NÉRIJA’s performance is pushed back 2 hours due to late flight arrival. Will I miss Nubya Garcia a second time? Suddenly a young man holding a massive upright bass mounts the stage. Drums, sax, and trumpet join in. Owning them are the cool and collected heavy artillery of a band performing alongside astounding pianist, Sarah Tandy. Fall in love with her quick moving fingers on ”Snake in the Grass” and the dazzling movements of “Under My Skin” offher stunning debut album Infection in the Sentence. I was equally blown away by Binker Golding on saxophone, Sheila Maurice Grey on trumpet, Mutale Chashi on bass, and Femi Koleoso’s relentless drumming. I doused myself with a resurgence of UK jazz and it was out of this world.

Next up, we headed to globalFEST showcase to check out Brazilian boss lady, rapper, and actress Karol Conka. There was an antique wood bar on the far end of the venue. I skillfully pivoted through the twerking crowd and lifted my butt on the bar. Karol Conka, dressed in the heaviest and happiest emoji face fur coat, was belting out one of my femme-favourite power anthems, “100% Feminista”. Fist raised, I sat on the bar and sang along in my best Portuguese, “Eu cresci. Prazer, Kelly bandida. Represento as mulheres, 100% feminista”. The crowd wailed. I jumped off the bar and walked out to our hotel. My job here was done.

Only thing missing to truly end the night was a frito pie. A poutine-like mound of frito chips, salsa, cheese, carne, and fresh chives. Austin, you know what’s up. See y’all on the electric scooter flip side!

Kelly Belfo aka Sugarface Nene is the World Music Director at CJLO, host of Flat Cola Presents, and founder of Beat The World, Saturdays noon-2pm on CJLO