The Spanish indie Armada is sailing into South By South West for the first time this week, with music biz and government backing.

Until this year, Spain was the world's only major market without a stand at SxSW in Austin, Texas, but the Sounds From Spain stand will change all that from tomorrow, when SxSW kicks off.

Sounds From Spain has been present at recent Midem and Popkomm trade fairs in Cannes, France, and Berlin, as well as at Musik Messe in Frankfurt, Germany, and Womex in Seville, Spain. But this is its first trip across the Atlantic.

The stand is organized by the industry ministry's foreign trade institute ICEX, authors' and publishers' society SGAE through its promotional arm Fundación Autor, and Madrid regional government promotion division Promomadrid.

Labels' body Promusicae and indie label group UFI are collaborating by sending artists to perform during the five-day SxSW. Other organizations involved in Sounds From Spain are the Spanish association of music publishers (AEDEM), and the performance technicians' association (ARTE).

Ten of UFI's 43 members are attending SxSW, and six artists will perform during the week: La Mala Rodriguez, Dorian, Jet Lag, Love of Lesbian, Remate & Loco Band and Standard.

The UFI labels are Acuarela, Bittersweet (with publishing arm Love To Art), Discmedi, Eureka, Everlasting Records (with publisher Popstock), Frank Andrada Music, Mushroom Pillow (with publisher Artica), Naïve, PIAS and Sinnamon.

Speaking before flying out from Madrid today, UFI VP Mark Kitcatt, who is also president of Everlasting Records/Popstock, said that the labels group proposed to ICEX and Promomadrid a Sounds From Spain presence this year "after visiting SxSW last year on a survey mission, and discovering that every other major market was there except for Spain. SxSW is clearly an important event for the Spanish indie sector". The idea was greeted by ICEX, Promomadrid and SGAE.

The Spanish live music highlight will be the Sounds From Spain "Spanish Party" on Thursday in Brush Square, when all six acts will perform. In addition, label Acuarela is staging a showcase to celebrate its 15th anniversary on Friday in the Havana Annex, with its own artists including Num9, the Strugglers, the Floorbirds, Grouper + Inca Ore, plus Remate & Loco Band.

Some acts will play post-SxSW gigs in New York and Mexico, before returning to Spain.

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