The Austin-based band builds on Latin roots by adding in-depth rhythm, sometimes fueled by reggae-like bass and electric guitar. The group focuses on Spanish lyrics and lets cumbia and salsa inspire their stage performances.
The 10-piece band consists of Adrian Quesada (guitar), Johnny Lopez (drums), José Galeano (vocals, timbales), Gilbert Elorreaga (trumpet), Beto Martinez (guitar), Kino Esparza (vocals), Greg González (bass), Joshua Levy (saxophones), Matthew "Sweet Lou" Holmes (congas) and Mark "Speedy" Gonzáles (trombone). They've provided on-stage backup for recording artist Prince and received a Grammy award for Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album in 2011.
The self-described "Latin funk orchestra" formed in 2000 and released its debut album in 2002. The self-titled record sold 7,000 units and was largely distributed at the band's shows. Grupo Fantasma has a history of releasing albums independently to maintain creative control over its music. The band's most recent release is "El Existential," and features pianist Larry Harlow of Fania and guitarist Curt Kirkwood of the Meat Puppets. Grupo Fantasma is currently on tour and appears at the Gramophone in St. Louis on August 24.
All photos by Kelsey McClure. See more at her Flickr stream.