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Bunji turns Texas into Red Light District

Monday, March 17, 2014
Bunji entertains the crowd at House of Marley at the South By South West Festival (SXSW) in Austin, Texas on Thursday night. PHOTO COURTESY IAN ALVAREZ

T&T is in for some surprises soon. That’s the word from Ian “Bunji Garlin” Alvarez following performers by him and his wife Fay-Ann Lyons on Thursday night at South by South West (SXSW), one of the largest music festivals in North America.


Garlin, hailed by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the Top 25 Must See acts for SXSW, performed at The Empire Garage, which featured a two-part show, one in the day featuring American electronic music star Skrillex as the headliner and another in the evening featuring rapper Riff Raff and electronic music producer Paper Diamond as the headliners.


Garlin performed in the night on the main stage, delivering his hits Differentology, Carnival Tabanca and the Tun Up remix by Jus Now. Lyons performed her 2014 releases Catch Me and Gimme Dat.


“It’s the first time soca ever represent at SXSW and it is an honour for me and Fay to bring it, we sell it off,” said Bunji, via telephone from Austin, Texas, where the festival is held. 


Garlin and Lyons were invited to SXSW by Mad Decent, a record label spearheaded by Diplo of the DJ collective Major Lazer, and when word got out that they would be at the festival they were invited to perform at other events, namely the Large Up and House of Marley showcases. 


“The first day we did the House of Marley and after our performance the DJ went into half an hour of level soca he didn’t know he had there,” he said. 


The excitement evident in his voice, Garlin said this experience is one that he cannot stop smiling about.


“It was really, really good, it was fruitful. The first day we started making crazy links and connections, it is a healthy atmosphere for every artiste and we would like to be a part of it every year,” he said.


Describing the festival as a real melting pot, Bunji said SXSW is where people come to discover new sounds and new people. Asked what benefits he could see emerging from their experience, he would only say: “We have some surprises for T&T soon.”


One source who attended the show, told the T&T Guardian that Bunji received the largest ovation of the night and had the mostly North American crowd jumping and waving. Other performers of the night were Slick Shoota, Nicky Dab, Gent and Jawns, What So Not, LIZ and Annie Mac. 


SXSW is an annual music, film, and interactive conference and festival that attracts thousands of people including a wide array of industry heavyweights, talent scouts, media, actors and musicians. This year the event saw performances from Lady Gaga, Kanye West and Jay Z, Kelis and Justin Beiber among others.


A 2013 report on the economic impact of the festival on Austin describes the event as the single most profitable event for the City of Austin’s hospitality industry attracting over 100,000 people with nine days of industry conferences, a four-day trade show, and a six-night music festival featuring more than 2,200 bands, and a nine-day film festival with more than 400 screenings.


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