Grupo Fantasma (American band)

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Grupo Fantasma
Origin 2000
Associated acts The Blimp, The Blue Noise Band, Brownout, Money Chicha

Grupo Fantasma is a nine-piece, Grammy Award-winning Latin funk orchestra from Austin, Texas.[1]


Formed in 2000 from the merger of two Austin acts, The Blimp and The Blue Noise Band,[2] the band emerged with a biweekly gig at the Empanada Parlour in Austin in 2001.[3] The band is best known for their exuberant live shows, innovative contemporary recordings and associations with Prince and his 3121 Club in Las Vegas. The band backed Prince on numerous occasions, including his performance on the ALMA Awards in 2007, and often perform at his after-party jam sessions. The band has performed with a diverse array of artists including Maceo Parker, Sheila E, GZA of Wu-Tang Clan, Spoon, Daniel Johnston, and many others. The ensemble has sold more than 20,000 albums independently and has had music featured in many popular television series.

Grupo Fantasma twice played the Austin City Limits Music Festival and taped an episode of the Austin City Limits television series on PBS, which first aired November 17, 2007. They have also performed at such festivals as the Montreal Jazz Festival, Bonnaroo, Wakarusa, WOMAD, North Sea Jazz Festival and the Calgary Folk Music Festival as well as having headlined numerous SXSW showcases in their career. The band performs frequently, regularly doing over 150 performances a year. Their horn section has also made various appearances on worldwide releases and has recently performed with indie rock band Spoon. Grupo Fantasma's music has been featured in the NYC public-access television cable TV show The Unbelievable Show from 2001 to 2004. The band has garnered over a dozen Austin Music Awards, and an induction into the Austin Music Hall of Fame.

The group's album Sonidos Gold was nominated for Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album for the 51st Grammy Awards. Grupo's album El Existential was awarded the Grammy for Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album at the 53rd Grammy Awards two years later.

Grupo Fantasma’s songs “Chocolate”, “Barretta” and “Perso Fra/Mesquites” were featured in Showtime’s Weeds season 6 premiere episode which debuted on August 16, 2010 and their cover of the Chicago song "Saturday in the Park" (Sabado en el Parque) was featured on the TV show "Breaking Bad".


  • Grupo Fantasma (2002)
  • Movimiento Popular (2004)
  • Comes Alive (2006)
  • Sonidos Gold (2008)
  • El Existential (2010)
  • Problemas (2016)

The band has also been featured on various other albums:


Current members[edit]

  • Beto Martinez – Guitar
  • John Speice – Drums
  • Jose Galeano – Percussion, vocals
  • Greg Gonzalez – Bass
  • Mark Gonzales – Trombone
  • Josh Levy – Baritone saxophone
  • Gilbert Elorreaga – Trumpet
  • Kino Esparza – Vocals, percussion
  • Matthew Holmes – Congas

Former members[edit]

  • Johnny Lopez III – Drums
  • David Lobel – baritone saxophone
  • Jeremy Bruch - percussion
  • Brian Ramos - vocals
  • Joseph Serrato - saxophone
  • Dave Wolfe - trumpet
  • Gene Centeno - saxophone
  • Leo Gauna - trombone
  • Adrian Quesada - guitar


  1. ^ Contreras, Felix. "Grupo Fantasma Grabs A Grammy". Alt.Latino. NPR. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  2. ^ Fawcett, Thomas (June 13, 2008). "Salsa, Cumbia, Merengue, Everything". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  3. ^ Lomax, John Nova (December 27, 2001). "Grupo Fantasma". Houston Press. Retrieved 28 July 2015.

External links[edit]