Alt.Latino’s Favorites From SXSW 2021

Christian Pagan glides through this set with the kind of breezy energy that feels straight off the Puerto Rican beaches he coos about. The island has, of course, produced a whole slew of up-and-comers, but Pagan is fresh in his own right, dazzling with a raw magnetism and honey-butter vocals. –

The label La Buena Fortuna’s showcase included madrileña singer-songwriter Travis Birds, whose velvety wail of a voice – alternatively husky and tremulous – hung in the air with phrasing that evoked both the seductive sway and concentrated potency of a flamenco gesture. There’s a quiet obsession in Birds’ delivery, but its dark edges are tempered by peculiarly charming subtext and touches of flamenquito pop. Accompanying herself on guitar, Birds sang “Las cinco disonante” which she said, “describes a strange moment in a person’s mind” and “Claroscuro,” which is “about silence and the madness it produces.” Her compositional intelligence is on full display in the recently-released . –