The South American Musicians Australians Should Be Paying Attention To

Both Australia and South America have proved to be fertile ground for innovative and exciting music. Our neighbours across the ocean are known the world over for their musical output and while today most things are accessible to us at the push of a play button, sometimes you need actual people on the ground to help guide you towards which buttons to look out for.

That’s where the Aussie delegates that attended Sounds Australia’s Department Of Foreign Affairs & Trade supported South American Music Trade Mission, come in handy.

Last year, Aus music industry delegates including managers, labels, publishers, promoters and publicists travelled to Chile, Argentina and Brazil for the express purpose of learning more about the South American music landscape and to teach delegates there more about Aussie music. A kind of musical diplomacy, if you will.

We reached out to a few of the Aussie delegates from the mission to give us an overview of South American artists that should be on all Aussie’s radars right now.

Matt Rogers (UNIFIED)

Ventre got my Meredith boot of the tour and I am sure they would rule the Sup if they ever got there! We caught this 3 piece rock band at a house party to launch BanaNard festival and then again on the SIM theatre stage and they killed it both times. Big, solid rock riffs with a powerhouse drummer doubling up on backing vocals. Not stoner, not psych, no gimmicks, just bloody good rock n roll.

Monique Rothstein (Positive Feedback)

DJ Tahira at SIM Sao Paolo played one of the best Brazilian DJ sets I have ever witnessed (check it out here. I also found the Argentinian Client Liaison in De La Rivera who do the coolest brand of ’80s-inspired electro pop. They’re also on a great local independent label called Discos Del Bisque which has a handful of great new discoveries. At Fluvial in Valdivia, Chile, I sat on an awesome Women In Music panel with Chilean pop star Francisca Valenzuela and was really impressed by her show.

Maggie Collins (BIGSOUND/triple j)

One of the best acts was a band from Quebec who were travelling around almost all of the festivals that we attended. They’re called Chocolat and they are as animated with their music as they are in their artwork. You would definitely enjoy this if you’re a fan of King Gizzard.

[Editor’s note: Look, technically Quebec isn’t in South America, we know, but just forget that for a minute and listen to this.]

Glenn Dickie (Sounds Australia)

One of the most special nights was when we stumbled across a street party on a Tuesday night in Rio. A small bar with a flimsy PA put together with random bits and pieces out the front with the most amazing Tango band playing. I have no idea what they were called and to be honest it doesn’t matter, it was more about the fact that on a Tuesday night in the middle of suburban Rio there were 100 people dancing and drinking and eating and having the best time. There were no complaints no lockouts and this incredible community spirit and support.

Another highlight, which was unexpected as he was one of the other delegates, was Nelson Graf Reis from Portugal. He got up during our visit to the amazing studios at Audio Porto and blew us all away. Like a Portuguese Conor Oberst, he almost had us all in tears with his beautiful emotive lyrics and powerful punk rock attitude and aesthetic.

Jaime Gough (Native Tongue)

Yael Meyer from Chile, performing at BAFIM. Also, Meteoros from BAFIM were interesting. The pop-up reggae sound system in Sao Paulo was also great.

Stuart Rogers (Sydney Festival)

At SIM Sao Paolo it was a tie between a couple of locals – Tahira’s Brazilian classics DJ set with mad visuals and Dub/Soul trio Curumin. The thundering dub of the pop-up Jamaican sound system under MASP was a great scene too. At BAFIM in Buenos Aires, it was Chilean singer-songwriter, Yael Meyer. At Fluvial it was Chile’s Francisca Valenzuela and Rubio, a new solo project from Fran Straube of Miss Garrison.