Artist of the Month: Grupo Fantasma

Every month we turn the spotlight on a new release from a Texas artist with a series of weekly features that give you a sneak peek at the new music and some insight into the artist behind it.

Our October artist of the month is Grupo Fantasma, a nine-piece Latin grooves collective from Austin, Texas. Swirling together elements of cumbia, funk, jazz, and Cuban music, Grupo Fantasma has created a singular sound that’s unmatched by any other Latin rock band. The orchestral arrangements and spicy beats spiral into a colorful display of bright storytelling. Even while playing alongside guest musicians, they maintain the crisp balance between brass, percussion, and vocals.

In addition to gracing festivals as prominent as Bonnaroo, Wakarusa and the North Sea Jazz Festival, Grupo Fantasma has played with Prince, Spoon and GZA of Wu-Tang Clan. Their 2011 album, El Existential, won a Grammy for Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album.

Their fifth studio release, Problemas, comes out on October 30th through Blue Corn Records. Under the supervision of producer Steve Berlin, Problemas takes on a different texture from their previous self-produced albums. The whirling orchestrations take the back seat and allow for the emotional intensity to drive through. Groupo Fantasma will celebrate the album’s release and their 15-year anniversary with a concert at the Mohawk on October 30th. (Please be aware this show has been rescheduled for November 12th due to inclement weather.)

-Elisa Regulski