Colombian cumbia-pop rapper Duran (Photo: Judy Cantor-Navas)

The six artists at the Billboard Latin SXSW Showcase, who came to Austin from Colombia, Venezuela, Spain, Mexico and Miami, were each met at the Soho Lounge Wednesday night by fans who sang along to their songs and pressed close to the stage for pictures.

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Girls lined up to kiss rapper Duran, who performed shirtless, at times with an accordion slung around his neck, while his Afro-Colombian band called everyone to dance with cumbia beats. The Mexican electro-pop group Jotdog's set proved literally explosive, blowing a fuse. The audience members, who had been mesmerized by the esoteric moves of singer Maria Barracuda, waited until they could begin again.


From left: Santosde Veracruz, Billboard's Judy Cantor-Navas and Muchachito. (Photo: Judy Cantor-Navas)

Muchachito Bombo Infierno, from Barcelona, brought the grit of flamenco and street party feeling of rumba, as well as rock star charisma, to the stage. Muchachito, who traveled to Austin without his full band, beat his guitar and stomped on a board rigged to sound like an electronic cajon. Artist and cantautor Santos de Veracruz painted behind him while he sang, and joined in singing, with a voice that came deep from flamenco tradition.

Like Muchachito, Javier Garcia showed why the power of simultaneous guitar playing and gyrating hips should never be underestimated. The Miami-based singer/songwriter sang tracks from his soon to be released album, "A Las Estrellas Vol. 1,",produced by Latin hitmaker Sebastian Krys.


Maria Barracuda of Mexican electro-pop group Jotdog helped blow a fuse. (Photo: Judy Cantor-Navas)

The Mexican group Radaid opened the showcase, blanketing the stage with a mix of traditional instruments and digital tools. They played a powerful set of haunting rhythms and ethereal vocals, grounded by acoustic rhythms La Vida Boheme, currently South America's biggest buzz band, closed the Billboard Latin showcase The Grammy nominated group immediately got audience arms in the air with their anthem "Radio Capital", their cowbell-accented adrenaline take on 70s punk, that invokes both the chaos of their native Caracas and the universally shared legacy of rock and roll.

Guadalajara's Radaid opened the Billboard Latin Music Showcase at the 2012 SXSW. (Photo: Judy Cantor-Navas)


Don't miss the Billboard Latin Music Conference & Awards, presented by State Farm taking place April 23-26, 2012 at the JW Marriott Marquis, Miami. This year's conference includes Q&As with Pitbull and Jenni Rivera, the 2nd annual Latin Music Marketing Awards, and execs like Target VP of entertainment John Butcher and Univision radio president Jose Valle. Visit BillboardLatinConference.com for details. Registration is open now; register by March 9th for the Early Bird Rate and save $175.