Celebrating the Cumbia de Austin

Grupo Fantasma - Sonidos Gold
Grupo Fantasma – Sonidos Gold
Grupo Fantasma

Sonidos Gold (Aire Sol Records, 2008)

Cumbia has traveled far. The Afro-Colombian genre became popular in Mexico, where it has become a common pop genre. And now cumbia takes root in Austin, the American city in Texas that celebrates and supports live music. Grupo Fantasma, a multinational band formed by Hispanic and Anglo musicians takes Mexican cumbia on Sonidos Gold and introduces Afro-Latin percussion and beats, powerful brass and retro lounge elements. Grupo Fantasma makes it seem like it is easy to switch from slow cadence cumbia to irresistible fast paced salsa and Cuban dance music.

Like other current U.S. based Latin bands, Grupo Fantasma is also inspired by the psychedelic Latin rock and salsa of the early 1970s (Santana, El Chicano, Ruben Blades, Mongo Santamaria, etc.). The musicians use vintage sounding organ, wah wah guitar and reverb, creating extraordinary jamming opportunities.

If that didn’t seem enough, Grupo Fantasma also venture into rootsy percussive Cuban rumba and guaganco, topped with echoing vocals and effects. Fans of retro electric guitar will love the instrumental piece Cumbia de los pajaritos.

Sonidos Gold is an astonishing amalgamation of current and 1970s inspired Latin sounds.

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Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.

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