Grupo Fantasma has been praised as one of the most important independent acts in the Latin genre and has continually defied expectations to create one of the most unique musical voices to come out of the United States in the last decade. In 2011, they garnered further acclaim by winning a Grammy (their second such nomination) for their self–produced release El Existential on Nat Geo Music which the Wall Street Journal called “Latin music both new and traditional…vibrant fusions that transcend easy classification.”
The band’s incendiary live show, declared by NPR as “seamless whenever and wherever they’re on stage” has brought the band to major festivals and venues internationally including Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, North Sea Jazz Festival (Curacao and Rotterdam) and Lowlands in the Netherlands, Kennedy Center, London’s O2 Arena, Montreal Jazz Festival, WOMEX, WOMAD, Tempo Latino (France) as well as two tours to Kuwait and Iraq to entertain US troops and a recent tour in Pakistan and Qatar. Their diverse spectrum of devoted fans speaks to the ensemble’s universal appeal beyond just Latin or world music.
In addition, they have served as the backing band for and collaborated on several occasions with the late, great, legendary Prince (ALMA Awards on ABC, Golden Globes, CBS Super Bowl Bash, 21 Nights in London), Fania All–Stars pianist Larry Harlow, Sheila–E, GZA of Wu–Tang Clan, Maceo Parker, Curt Kirkwood of the Meat Puppets, Ruben Ramos, GZA of the Wu–Tang Clan, cult–hero Daniel Johnston, indie rock standouts Spoon, Los Lobos and many others. In 2015 and 2016 they continued to tour the globe with club and festival dates in support of their latest studio release, Problemas (Blue Corn Music); their 6th full–length album produced by Multi–Grammy award winner Steve Berlin of Los Lobos and released in late 2015. Additionally, they have appeared on the nationally syndicated PBS show Austin City Limits 3 times (2016, 2014, 2007). Their music has also appeared in films and movies including Breaking Bad (AMC), Weeds (Showtime), Frankie & Gracie (Netflix), Law & Order (NBC) as well as the John Sayles’ film Casa de los Babies among others.
The nine piece musical collective formed in 2000 in Austin, Texas and consists of Jose Galeano (timbales, vocals), Kino Esparza (vocals, hand percussion), Beto Martinez (guitar), Greg Gonzalez (bass), John Speice (drums), Matthew “Sweet Lou” Holmes (congas), Gilbert Elorreaga (trumpet), Josh Levy (baritone saxophone) and Mark “Speedy” Gonzales (trombone).
Nosotros seamlessly combines Latin rhythms with elements of Rock, Salsa, Jazz and Cumbia creating an original sound that is unmistakably Nosotros. But M.E. Schenck of Hyperactive Music Magazine may have interpreted their sound best by saying “Nosotros’ music is not to be explained, it is to be felt in the pit of our souls.”
The award-winning ensemble began as a guitar trio in 1994 and was based in the southern New Mexico town of Las Cruces. The band gained an almost immediate following. During this time Nosotros successfully self-produced two albums, “Palomo” and “Pico,” both of which received excellent reviews and sold very well.
By September 2001, Nosotros had grown into a 6-piece band and relocated to the Albuquerque/Santa Fe area, firmly establishing themselves as one of the most popular bands in New Mexico. In February 2002, Nosotros caught the ear of percussionist/producer Chris Trujillo. Trujillo is best known for his work with Tom Petty, The Black Crowes, Rod Stewart, Toto and Diana Ross. In November of 2003, Nosotros released their third album, “Nosotros,” produced by Trujillo. This self-titled album received numerous NM Music Awards including the highly coveted “Album of the Year and ”Producer of the Year” awards, cementing the group’s reputation as a Latin music powerhouse.
The band began broadening it’s audience by taking their show on road. They began touring the Southwest United States playing various venues and music festivals along side some of the biggest names in music.
In 2006, Nosotros released their fourth album, “Llena La Alma” with Grammy award winning engineer Doug Geist and again was recognized by the NM Music Awards with several awards. Also, the song “Hermosa” was chosen as a finalist in the prestigious John Lennon Song Writing Competition.
Nosotros contiued to gig, tour and write material and in 2011 released their 5th studio album, a self-produced EP titled “Ver El Sol”. Once again the NM Music Awards recoginzed their effors by giving them an award for the song “Viboras,” while the song “Solo Un Dia” was featured on NPR’s Alt Latino.
In 2014, Nosotros celebrated 20 years as a band. To mark the milestone, Nosotros realeased an anthology CD simply titled, “XX”. Over the years Nosotros has changed and taken on a life of its own, but through all that has changed one thing remains the same: Nosotros is and always will be felt in the pit of your soul.
Nosotros features Glenn Contreras (Lead Vocals), Carlos Fontana (Lead Vocals), Shane Derk (Guitar), Manuel Ramirez (Saxophone), Gilbert Uribe (Bass), Ricky Carrido (Congas) and Dennis Javier Jasso (Drums) Jesse Joaquin Parker (Percussion).