five south american musicians you need to know

The diversity of South America - from rainforests to grasslands, Brazil to Bolivia - is mirrored in the musicians that hail from there (and no, we’re not talking Shakira). Here are five boundary-pushing South American acts, doing everything from silky electronica to society-skewering rap, all on their own terms.


Tei Shi 

Tei Shi (AKA Valerie Teicher) grew up in Argentina and Colombia before moving to Canada, although she is also of part Polish-Jewish descent. Her global perspective shines through in her brand of clean, super-stylish electronica that you can imagine hearing on dancefloors from New York to New Delhi. Her upcoming debut record, Crawl Space, is released on 31 March, exploring her childhood insomnia and how her creativity flourished. It also features a Spanish-language track, Como Si. In an accompanying press release, she stated: "I really wanted to do something in Spanish because it's such a big part of my identity. I love the language and it's a way of preserving this part of myself”.



The Rio-based trio of Alice Coelho, Jeni Loyola and Mariana Alves - formerly known as Pearls Negras - make hyperactive, energetic dance-rap infused with bass and baille funk, on the realities of tough favela living. After a short hiatus from the spotlight following the release of two mixtapes in 2014, the crew - all in their late teens - made a triumphant return to the scene last year with Bad Girls, which basically sounds like an EDM, Portuguese language cover of Missy Elliott (sample lyric: “"if you f**k up you better get out because we are in charge now”). In short: fantastic.


Julieta Rada

The Uruguayan singer - daughter of feted percussionist and singer Ruben Rada - makes music that’s somewhere between a Spanish-speaking Rhythm Nation-era Janet Jackson and 80s funk-rock, with candombe (Afro-Uruguyan) touches and the odd Stevie Wonder cover. Her rich pop sound has made her one of Uruguay’s biggest young talents, and she was nominated for a Latin Grammy in 2015 for best new artist.


Zuzuka Poderosa

Half-Indonesian Brasilena Poderosa makes tunes that fuse a hip-hop sound with baile funk and dance hooks. Her nonchalant energy is reminiscent of fellow Brazilians CSS and Bonde Do Role as well as M.I.A, and although she hasn’t dropped an official release since 2013’s Carioca Funk she did release a single, Pussy Control, following the women’s marches back in January. An English and Portuguese-language slice of female empowerment with a tongue-in-cheek feel, it shows the Brooklyn-based artist at her political-yet-irreverent best.


Kali Uchis

Colombian-born, US-raised popster Uchis makes skillful, soul and R&B-tinged tinged ballads influenced by everyone from Brazilian bossa nova singer Astrud Gillberto to Lily Allen. She’s also worked with some of the coolest names in music; her debut Ep, Por Vida (For Life), featured tracks produced by the likes of Diplo, Tyler The Creator and Kaytranada, she collaborated with Snoop Dogg on 2014’s On Edge and 2016 single Only Girl featured Vince Staples and Steve Lacy of The Internet. As well as a retro-inspired sound, Uchis also has amazing Instagram game, sharing swag-heavy looks and pics interspersed with snaps from trips back to her homeland.

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