2012 SXSW Flashback: Michael Kiwanuka

Dave DiMartino

There's an interesting scenario that often emerges as a hypothetical talent gauge these days, especially when so much contemporary music emerges via studio and electronic means: Take a performer and plop him or her on a desert island with a crew of castaways and just one music instrument. How will that work out?

In the case of England's Michael Kiwanuka, the answer may be almost laughably obvious.

Staggeringly well.

With just a guitar in hand, and his strikingly soulful, emotive voice, Kiwanuka could likely entertain anyone anywhere. On a desert island, or in a makeshift studio in Austin, Texas, during this year's South by Southwest music conference.

Consider this a welcome early preview of Kiwanuka, who's already been on the receiving end of a whirlwind of raves overseas. His first full album, Home Again, is slated to receive its American debut on July 31st at the moment, and it's every bit as good and soul-searing as the performances you can witness below. We all have a lot to look forward to.