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To Austin, With Love: Previewing The Songs Of SXSW

The Colombian band Tribu Baharú is scheduled to perform at this month's SXSW music festival.
David J. Gaar
Courtesy of the artist
The Colombian band Tribu Baharú is scheduled to perform at this month's SXSW music festival.

The annual South By Southwest music festival kicks off March 13, bringing with it more than 2,000 artists performing at dozens of clubs across Austin, Texas. Winnowing all that music down to a digestible list of recommendations is a months-long endeavor, but now NPR Music has launched its annual Austin 100 — a downloadable 100-song playlist highlighting some of the festival's most exciting discoveries.

In this conversation with NPR's Michel Martin, that list gets whittled down to an even-leaner five: Tribu Baharú, a relentlessly joyful Colombian band; Jealous Of The Birds, an Irish singer who layers her voice beautifully; Manu Delago, a Bjork collaborator whose haunting songs are built around a drum called the Hang; Tunde Olaniran, a Michigan singer and rapper who practically bursts with ideas; and Weaves, a zingy and inventive rock group led by commanding singer Jasmyn Burke.

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Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)
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