Uruguay is a small country, tucked between Argentina and Brazil, with a rich musical culture.
In the 1960s and '70s, Uruguayan musicians such as Alfredo Zitarrosa and Los Olimareños helped to create a strong musical identity, inspired by traditional music such as milonga, tango, zamba, candombe and murga. In the 1980s and '90s, Eduardo Mateo, Rubén Rada, Jaime Roos and others continued to form a solid musical base.
Uruguay has a wide array of musicians, not only influenced by their own folk music but also by sounds from other parts of the world, including bossa nova, rock and jazz. Jorge Drexler is perhaps the most famous Uruguayan singer. He won an Oscar for "Al Otro Lado del Rio", a song he wrote for the film "The Motorcycle Diaries."
But there are dozens of singers and bands making some exciting music in Uruguay today, from folk music to rock, from alternative rock to jazz. Uruguayan music will have a strong presence at the SXSW music festival in Austin this month. Ana Prada, Rossana Taddei and Daniel Drexler are among the artists who will be performing.
Prada began her career in music in 1994. She has collaborated and performed with artists from Argentina, Cuba and Uruguay, including Jorge Drexler. She has recorded three solo albums, including her latest, "Soy Otra". While her music is firmly grounded in Uruguayan folk rhythms, her style is funky and her songs are filled with passion and humor.
Taddei has thirteen albums to her name. Her music is a blend of jazz, rock and Uruguayan rhythms. Her latest project, MINIMALmambo, is a collaboration with drummer Gustavo Etchenique. His work includes playing and recording with major Uruguayan figures such as Roos and Eduardo Mateo.
Daniel Drexler is a pop singer whose music is informed by the musical genres of the Rio de la Plata, such as candombe, milonga and murga. He has five albums and has shared the stage with Prada, Kevin Johansen and Jorge Drexler. His latest album, "Mar Abierto," received the Premio Gardel 2013 for "Best Testimonial Author Song".