‘Sounds from Uruguay’ to invade SXSW Festival, again!

Size doesn’t matter, and Uruguay, one of the tiniest countries of South America, is the living proof. For the third consecutive year, “Sounds from Uruguay” is…

Fernando Santullo talks to VOXXI about his upcoming visit to SXSW Festival. (Photo: Twitter/@FerSantullo)

Size doesn’t matter, and Uruguay, one of the tiniest countries of South America, is the living proof.

For the third consecutive year, “Sounds from Uruguay” is back to South by Southwest Festival, taking place in Austin, Texas, March 13-22.

For the 2015 edition of the Festival, Uruguay is sending five artists: Boomerang, Santullo, AFC, Once Tiros and Fede Graña & Los Prolijos.

SEE ALSO: ‘Sounds from Spain’ will take by storm SXSW Festival

The process to select projects is very strict at SXSW. Organizers want to be sure there is a fair representation of countries and musical styles, making the event one of the most popular in the country.

Titanfall video game release party

A crowd enjoys the live music at SXSW Festival 2014.  (Photo by Hal Horowitz/Invision for Microsoft/AP Images)

Because of this, concert-goers can select what artist to see and listen to or just let the unknown surprise them. Either way, quality is always assured.

“At SXSW I’ll present my music, and what it’s about,” said Fernando Santullo during a phone conversation with VOXXI. “I am very excited, this is a great opportunity.”

Santullo just released his new CD, “El Mar sin Miedo” (The Fearless Sea), in which there is “no electronic sound, its a very ‘organic’ music.”

Born in 1968, he moved to Mexico and later spent some time in New York. Back in Uruguay, in 1995 created his rock band Peyote Asesino. Later he created another one, Kato. He studied sociology and works mainly as a free lance journalist.

Santullo moved then to Barcelona, Spain, where he is currently living. But he constantly traveled back to Uruguay and in 2003 he released another album.

In 2005 he composed two songs for the electronic tango band Bajofondo.

“This opened the doors for an album as a soloist…,” said a very animated Santullo. “Bajofondo Presenta a Santullo” was the title and it expressed a “new” Santullo, influenced by more melodic tones from tango and South American folk, with a hip hop touch.

The CD received several nominations and awards and made Santullo a popular artist in Argentina and Uruguay, even opening for touring bands such as The Black Keys and Faith No More.

How does Santullo define his music? “I like Gustavo Santaolalla’s definition of our musical style: Contemporary music from the Rio de La Plata —the river that separates Argentina and Uruguay. Its wide but its a correct definition.”

Currently, Santullo wants to keep it simple, staying away from very elaborated studio music and performing with his band.

In the last years, the voice of Uruguayan artists is heard far beyond the country’s borders.

Fans at SXSW festival.

A fan jumps into the crowd at Green Day during the 2013 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival at ACL Live on March 15, 2013 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for SXSW)

The diversity of styles, genres and artists’ backgrounds doesn’t allow us to call this a movement; however, Uruguay’s musical explosion has some common roots, like tango, milonga and candombe mixed with rock and pop.

“It took us about three years to come on the stage,” said Fede Grana to VOXXI, drummer and the band leader of Fede Grana y Los Prolijos, other of the bands coming from the South to SXSW. “Our style? Any style that comes out when we rehearse! May be cumbia, hip hop even foxtrot!”

Fede Grana y Los Prolijos sounds like the band you always listen on the radio. There’s a familiar tone in its music and the choir in most of its songs. They are danceable, fun and friendly to sing along.

“We are still growing… But its difficult here, Uruguay is a small country,” said Colo, another member of the band to VOXXI. “However more and more people are going to concerts and dances!”

SEE ALSO: SXSW 2015 Festival will be a big Latino show off

Regarding the lyrics, Fede states that the band doesn’t stick to certain topics. “We just want people to listen our songs… I think that when a song is created it is there to be listened, there is reason for that song to exist…”

“There is no easy explanation for Uruguay’s musical explosion. Or may be one, “We enjoy playing live, in front of the people,” he added. “And we pass this feeling to the people!”

Besides Santullo and Fede Grana y Los Prolijos, three other bands will represent Uruguay at SXSW, performing on March 18th at Speakeasy.