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SXSW and the evolution of Italian music

Updated: Dec 2, 2019

Enjoy this very special short documentary focused on the Italian music experience at SxSw 2018. Scroll down to read full article below and watch other videos we were able to capture while hanging out with some of these amazing artists.


Using it in the classroom? Download script & translations HERE.


Despite of its ups and downs, as of 2018 it is still clear that the SxSw conference in Austin, Texas is one of the most important – if not the most important – media conference that exists in the world. Split into three main categories (Film, Music and Interactive) as well as several other subcategories (Education, Fashion, Gaming, Wellness etc), every March the conference blazes into Texas' capital city with the force and intensity of a freight train carrying a huge and insane circus, delighting audiences and terrorizing locals with its carnival like atmosphere.


Italy has been part of SxSw for many years, thanks to dedicated music professionals such as Mark Gartenberg, Francesco Del Maro and different maverick Italian musicians who took the risk of traveling to Austin to be part of the famous media conference. That said, somewhere around 2013, Italy started having a bigger presence, as increased Italian government funding was made available for different initiatives such as setting up a sizable booth in the SXSW trade show, promoting showcases and throwing private events. Fast forward to 2018, this presence has become even bigger, due mainly to the music renaissance that Italy is experiencing and the incredible number of new high-quality acts that the country is now exporting.


There were a total of 15 Italian acts that participated in SXSW 2018; the largest number of acts from Italy that have ever attended the festival. It was an extremely eclectic line up, which included talent from every part of the musical spectrum. It was also the first year that the Italia Music Export office made its debut in the festival, a newly established entity started by music professional Nur Al Habash (originally from Rockit.it), with the goal of promoting Italian music worldwide.

One interesting fact about this Italian crop of artists is that most of these acts sing in English, as these particular musicians are interested in capturing the “mainstream” international market rather than just being successful in Italy.

One act that we greatly enjoyed was Joan Thiele, an Italian-Colombian singer who blends multiple genres to create a very interesting medley of sounds cleverly wrapped into catchy & dance-able tunes. Here’s another short video for you to practice your listening and comprehension skills where we take Joan to Austin’s iconic Waterloo Records to purchase 5 Lp’s that she recommends anyone to have and enjoy. She picked a very eclectic array of artists, which greatly explains how her unique sound came to exist.



To finalize this special report, we leave you with a video-diary we created for Fabrizio Cammarata, which features his song “Mi Vida” from his latest album “Of Shadows”.

It is a good visual/auditory recount of what it was like for Fabrizio, and other Italian artists, to come to Austin to perform at SxSw.