Grupo Fantasma ©KLRU photo by Scott Newton

Grupo Fantasma


Austin’s music scene is constantly and rapidly changing. One group continues to evolve right along with it: Grupo Fantasma. The nine-piece orchestra is back with their sixth album Problemas, produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos. The band returns to Austin City Limits to perform songs from that release and much more.

Formed in 2000, Grupo Fantasma has been praised as one of the most important acts in Latin music. The band’s incendiary live show, which NPR describes as “seamless…whenever and wherever they’re on stage,” has brought the band to major festivals and venues as well as two tours to Kuwait and Iraq to entertain U.S. troops. They served as the backing band on several occasions for Prince, who praised them as “real musicians playing real music.”

For their release Problemas, the Grammy-winning band broke away from their DIY tradition of self-produced albums and decided to a new process that would help them form a unique voice and create a story. As bassist Greg Gonzalez puts it, “It would’ve been easier and cheaper to record everything ourselves and reuse the same techniques – which successfully garnered us a Grammy and two nominations for successive albums – but the desire was to push ourselves in new directions.”

Grupo Fantasma first appeared on ACL in Season 33 in 2007 and returned for 2014’s 40th anniversary special. This episode features performances from founding member Adrian Quesada, album producer Steve Berlin, saxophonist Karl Denson and Los Texmaniacs accordionist Josh Baca.