Happenings: Grupo Fantasma at Texas State

Grammy-winning Grupo Fantasma plays Texas State with four alums

Whether you’re a Latin music lover or just like moving to the music, Latin-funk orchestra Grupo Fantasma has you covered. On Saturday, March 31, the Grammy-winning ensemble — including four Texas State alumni  — will take their talents to Texas State for a special performance at 7:30 p.m. in the LBJ Student Center Ballroom.

As two-time nominees and the winner of the 2011 Grammy for their latest album El Existential, Grupo Fantasma has been praised as one of the most important independent acts in the Latin genre; however, their humble beginnings and spirited sound have made a universal impact.

Texas State alumni Josh Levy, Kino Esparza, Matthew “Sweet Lou” Holmes and Gilbert Elorreaga are all full-time members of the 10-piece ensemble. Having come together through their love of Latin music, the four alumni know each other from their time at Texas State.

With tours around the world and airtime on hit TV shows and films, the band has come far from their start as local music moguls in Austin and San Marcos; however, their spirited sound has not changed a bit. According to Levy, the band’s saxophonist, he originally became inspired by their high-energy show as a fan before his graduation in 2007.

“I’ll never forget seeing Grupo Fantasma for the first time, five-ish years ago at what was then Lucy’s, and thinking, ‘I want to do THAT!’” Levy says. “Funny how things work out.”

Levy says his time in San Marcos instilled in him the value of hard work with the adage, “Practice makes perfect,” attributing to his success.

“My time in San Marcos was influential,” Levy says. “A variety of ensembles, hours of rehearsal daily, LOTS of practicing, sectionals, concerts, recruiting trips, innumerable gigs at Triple Crown – not to mention almost every other bar in town – it all added up to making me a better, more well-rounded player.”

With the news of the Grammy nomination, Levy says he was blown away at the lengths that they had come since their start.

“I honestly didn’t believe it at first,” he says. “I had never entertained the idea of even one nomination, much less a second.”

Continuing a worldwide tour of their album El Existential, Grupo Fantasma will light up the stage with Texas State’s Encore Performing Arts Series on March 31 at 7:30 p.m. Student tickets are $15 and VIP tickets are $50 — including 2 drink coupons, an exclusive lounge area and a meet-and-greet with the band. To learn more, go here.

You can find more information about Grupo Fantasma on FacebookMySpace and the band’s website.

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