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From Kate Tempest To Torres, Female Artists Shone At SXSW

The crowd was all smiles during NPR Music's showcase at this year's South By Southwest music festival. We can't send you back in time to hear the shows, but you can listen to some of Bob Boilen's favorite performers from the festival.
The crowd was all smiles during NPR Music's showcase at this year's South By Southwest music festival. We can't send you back in time to hear the shows, but you can listen to some of Bob Boilen's favorite performers from the festival.

2015's South By Southwest music festival is in the books. Few people consume that event quite like NPR's Bob Boilen from All Songs Considered. As he pored over thousands of songs before the trip to gauge his interest in certain acts, he came to one conclusion: this is The Year of the Woman at SXSW.

Boilen spoke to NPR's Kelly McEvers about five of festival's most memorable performances — all by women. Click on the audio link above to hear their conversation, or look below for some representative songs by those artists.

Kate Tempest

"She's a 30-year-old playwright, poet ... and of course, she's a rapper and a hip-hop artist. There is something about Kate that speaks to every single person in the room. ... You just felt like she was talking to you. And her message was full of passion and love. One of the lines she repeated over and over to everybody as she looked around the room was 'more empathy, less greed.' Live in the moment is sort of her message. She stands of top of a monitor speaker and she says, 'I'm not preaching,' but she was preaching in the best of ways."

Tanya Tagaq

"She's an Inuit throat singer from the Arctic regions of northern Canada. She makes sounds that are absolutely unimaginable. You cannot believe that a human voice without electronic effects is making the sounds that she's making. She gives a performance that is as powerful as any intense punk performance I've ever seen. It's 25 minutes of just nonstop sounds from the human body that is erotic at times, tearful at times. She just takes you through these various emotions ... backed by just a violin and a drummer."

SOAK

"An 18-year-old Irish singer, she goes by the name of SOAK — her real name is Bridie Monds-Watson. Where Kate Tempest is very extroverted, SOAK is the artist with the acoustic guitar that sings about coming of age. ... Very introverted."

Torres

"[This] is Mackensie Scott. She, not too many years ago, was much more personal, sort of a cowboy hat-wearing, leaning more folk-y ... Now it's almost as if the spirit of Patti Smith has entered her body."

Courtney Barnett

"The most talked-about artist and anticipated artist [at SXSW]. She's Australian, from Melbourne. Courtney is one of the best lyricists making music in rock. Flat out. She's got the Dylan in her. What she has that sometimes Dylan didn't is that she has much more clarity and humor where as Dylan was obscure and oblique at times."

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