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Movimiento Popular

Grupo Fantasma

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Album Review

An Austin-based collective wholeheartedly devoted to the cumbia beat, Grupo Fantasma aren't nearly as retro-minded as one might expect. For one thing, any band with a full-time DJ and a Jamaican-style toaster is clearly not going the traditional Latin American route. However, the band introduce their stylistic changeups neatly within the context of fairly traditional Latin American dance music; as a result, the reggae-style toasting and ska horns of the opening track, "Peligrosa," don't sound as if they were stuck in willy-nilly, but instead integrate nearly into the music's sultry rhythmic throb. Rock, funk, Afro-Cuban, and straightforward pop influences also percolate through these tunes, and occasional guest appearances (most notably Ruben Ramos of fellow Austinites los Super Seven, who sings a commanding lead on the traditional "Oye Mi Cumbia") don't detract from the band's communal vibe. Movimiento Popular is likely going to be as appealing to jam band fans who like their music loose and groove-oriented enough to noodle-dance to as it is to fans of traditional Latin music, if not more so; however, it feels much more like an honest expansion of the style's parameters than a tacky sellout move.

Biography

Formed: 2000 in Austin, TX

Genre: Salsa y Tropical

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Austin-based Latin funk jam band Grupo Fantasma formed in 2000, and quickly established a reputation for their high-energy live shows. Comprised of musicians hailing from all over Latin America, Fantasma's players were brought together by Austin's bustling music scene, finding in each other a hunger and drive to create something truly unique. Drawing influences from genres and styles like cumbia, salsa, old-school funk, reggae, and more, the band built a buzz surrounding its new and inventive style...
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Movimiento Popular, Grupo Fantasma
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