For the past five years, the City of Austin has officially celebrated Austin’s thriving Latino music scene throughout the month of May. This is a call for all visitors and Austinites to get in touch with their Latin side, celebrate music with deep roots in Texas, and discover the eclectic world of Latin music in the Live Music Capital of the World.
Latino Music Month is
diverse and dynamic
by Rose Reyes and
Amanda Garcia of the
Austin Music Office
A highlight of the festivities
throughout Austin in May
What makes the Latino music scene in Austin so dynamic? First, the wide diversity of genres can be found here: Mariachi, Conjunto, Tejano, Rock in Español, Latin Jazz, Salsa and more. Next are the unique festivals and venues: from dance venues such as Buzios Room and Speakeasy with Tuesday salsa nights, and restaurants featuring live music like El Sol y La Luna, to the Cinco de Mayo block party in the 2nd Street district, and critically acclaimed Pachanga Festival on the east side.
This is not just your parents’ Latin music; it’s original music made by young people like La Guerrilla, alongside the traditional sounds we grew up hearing such as Tejano, Mariachi and Conjunto. Together, all these sounds connect us with a shared language, culture and community. Here are some of the unique things our City does to support Latino Music Month, as well as highlighted shows you do not want to miss.
Amanda Garcia and Rose Reyes
Check out this sampling of free events in May:
• Concerts are held Fridays from noon to 1 p.m. on the outdoor plaza of City Hall. Let loose to Charanga Cakewalk on May 7, unwind to the R&B stylings of Myrna Cabello on May 14, and show off your dancing skills to Grupo Fantasma on May 21 and Los T-Birds on May 28.
• Traveling throughout the month of May? Don’t worry you still will be able to celebrate Latino Music Month while waiting for your flight. The airport offers numerous free shows to ticketed passengers on four different stages throughout the terminal and during Latino Music Month there will be featured performances by 16 different Latino bands! Before leaving town be sure and enjoy free live music from Cienfuegos, Cerronato and Los Texas Wranglers.
City Council Performances
• Did you know the City of Austin recognizes a different musical artist at each City Council meeting? Musicians play one song at 5:30 p.m. in City Hall and a proclamation is read by the Mayor declaring it that artist’s day. This is yet another chance for you to experience free live music. Be sure to attend on May 13 to catch a live performance from Texas Chicano music legends Tortilla Factory.
•No big weekend plans? Take a date or a group of friends to listen to some of Austin’s greatest Mariachi bands. Dance to the award winning Mariachi Relampago every Thursday night at La Feria Resturant, enjoy performances by Mariachi Tamazula every Friday night at El Sol y la Luna, or be serenaded by Mariachi Garibay while eating dinner at Azul Tequila.
This is our “don’t miss” list for May:
May 1st – May 9th – American Sabor: Latino’s In U.S. Popular Music exhibit at the Bob Bullock Museum
May 5th – La Condesa Cinco de Mayo Block Party
May 7th – Antone’s – Grupo Fantasma at 9 p.m.
May 9th – Z Tejas Javier Chaparro / Electric Combo
May 12th – Ruta Maya – Cienfuegos at 9 p.m.
May 15th – Mi Casa Cantina – Esquina Tango at 9 p.m.
Every Tuesday at Speakeasy Salsa Night with O Positivo beginning at 9:30 p.m.
May 21st and 22nd – Pachanga Music Festival
May 29th – 41st Annual Fiesta Amistad – Michael Salgado, Texmaniacs featuring Flaco Jimenez, Texas Wranglers and more
May 30th – SIMS Foundation and Central Market Latin Music Showcase (North Lamar)
Samantha Spillman contributed to this column.