SXSW announces free, Latin music showcase

Intocable
Intocable headlines all-Latino showcase at SXSW.

South by Southwest has announced an all-Latino showcase on March 19 at the SXSW Outdoor Stage at Lady Bird Lake (formerly the Auditorium Shores stage). The free show, which is part of SXAméricas, will feature artists Intocable, Grupo Fantasma, Systema Solar, División Minúscula, and 3BallMTY. More artists will be announced later.

Tejano/Norteño fusion band, Intocable, will get another chance to headline the showcase after last year’s Auditorium Shores show was cancelled because of standing water, leaving fans who came from near and far disappointed since the band could not reschedule.

In 2013, the group headlined the Pachanga Latino Music Festival and band vocalist Ricky Muñoz told the Statesman’s Spanish-language weekly ¡Ahora Sí! back then that, “We have Tejano roots, and we have a norteño influence, that is for sure. But I don’t know what you should really call us, other than good music.” The award-winning music veterans have been playing for more than 20 years.

Grupo Fantasma, who celebrated their 15th anniversary last fall, will bring their genre-mashing music for what’s sure to be a dance party. New to SXSW this year will be the Colombian collective, Systema Solar, who are popular in the Latin alternative scene for their blend of Colombian Afro-Caribbean music with contemporary rhythms.

Monterrey-based SXSW alums División Minúscula and 3BallMTY return to the festival. Both were discovered by the legendary DJ Toy Selectah of Control Machete fame, who also a part-time Austinite. With División Minúscula’s punk rock sound and 3BallMTY’s energetic electronic tribal music, this showcase will feature a wide range of diverse Latin sounds.

The showcase, which start at 2 p.m., is open to the public with free Guest Pass wristbands. It’s also open to people with SXSW Music and Platinum badges. For more information, visit the SXSW Outdoor Stage webpage.

Grupo Fantasma turns 15: Cultura en Austin’s Top 2015 Moments

Austinites experienced many memorable cultural moments in 2015. As a features reporter, I’m privileged to witness and write about many culturally significant events in Austin. From now through Dec. 31, I’ll share three of my favorite 2015 moments. All of them give a unique insight into Austin’s Latino community.

Grupo Fantasma released its fifth studio album, "Problemas," which was produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos. The Grammy award-winning band celebrates its 15th anniversary this year.
Grupo Fantasma celebrated its 15th anniversary this year. Contributed photo

Grupo Fantasma turns 15

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 15 years since Grupo Fantasma’s first show at the old Empanada Parlour on Sixth Street. The Grammy award-winning band, which put a spotlight on Austin’s Latin music scene, celebrated its quinceañera this year and released a fifth studio album, “Problemas.”

After more than a decade in the ever-changing music business, Grupo Fantasma wants to use all the lessons learned to pay it forward and mentor up-and-coming artists.

“We’ve seen the Austin music scene change so much, and it’s been very good to us and helped us survive this long,” co-founder Greg González said in a recent interview. “We don’t want that to fall apart. We don’t want this city to lose its soul, and whatever part of this story of Austin music that we play, we want to share that with other people and help keep it going.”

15 years Later: Top Grupo Fantasma Shows

Grupo Fantasma is back with their fifth studio album, "Problemas," which was produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos. The Grammy award-winning band celebrates its 15th anniversary this year.

Do you have a favorite Grupo Fantasma show? It’s been 15 years since the Grammy award-winning band launched, and the Latin funk kings are celebrating with an album release party and anniversary shindig at 7 p.m. tonight (Nov. 12) at the Mohawk. Their originally scheduled pachanga last month was postponed because of severe Austin weather, but previously purchased tickets will be accepted.

In honor of their quinceañera, I recently chatted with Grupo Fantasma founding members Beto Martínez and Greg González about the evolution of the band and their fifth studio album, “Problemas,” which was produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos.

As we went down memory lane, Martínez and González also recalled their personal favorite Grupo Fantasma shows — the ones where they each felt like they had arrived. These memorable moments didn’t make it into our previous Austin360 article, so we’re sharing them now as the band celebrates 15 years together.

Grupo Fantasma founding members Beto Martínez (left) and Greg González. Photo by Nancy Flores/American-Statesman
Grupo Fantasma founding members Beto Martínez (left) and Greg González. Photo by Nancy Flores/American-Statesman

Here’s what the guys had to say:

“There have been a lot of great shows, but probably the most memorable for me has been playing the Golden Globes party with Prince. Of all the shows we’ve played, that one had pure celebrities in the audience jamming with Prince and all these stellar artists like Mary J. Blige and Talib Kweli. All these great artists, like Marc Anthony, came and sat in. It was an audience of A-listers, and it really felt like we had arrived at that moment. It was the most glitzy, glamorous show we had ever had playing in Beverly Hills for the illuminati of Hollywood fame.”

— Greg González

While the Golden Globes party was definitely memorable for Martínez as well, he recalls another show in 2008 that was particularly special to him.

“Shortly after (the Golden Globes party) we did Bonnaroo for the first time. Bonnaroo was our first really big festival. And we played at one of the big tents for probably 5,000 people. It was one of the first biggest shows we’d played that (featured) just us. It wasn’t us with Prince. It was us. And those fans were there freaking out for us.”

— Beto Martínez

What’s your favorite Grupo Fantasma moment? Share it with us in the comments below, and check out the playlist we’ve created for your hip-shaking pleasure.

 

Grupo Fantasma postpones Oct. 30 record release party

 Grupo Fantasma is back with their fifth studio album, "Problemas," which was produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos. The Grammy award-winning band celebrates its 15th anniversary this year.

Grupo Fantasma announced today that the band’s record release party, originally scheduled for Oct. 30 at the Mohawk, will be postponed until Nov. 12 due to severe weather.

The Grammy award-winning band celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, and the show planned to bring back special guests including former band members. Check out our recent interview with band co-founders Beto Martínez and Greg González about their fifth studio album, “Problemas” and how the band has evolved after more than a decade together.

All previously purchased tickets will be honored at the door.

 

 

Latin music at KUTX Map Jam

One of my favorite places in Austin to listen to live music is at the zócalo or courtyard of the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center. So I was glad that Saturday’s KUTX 98.9’s Map Jam event, which featured nine bands performing at venues throughout the city, included the beautiful space, which means so much to Austin’s Mexican American community.

Many concert-goers said it was their first time there, but I hope not the last. Latin music shined at the event starting with Austin’s Leticia Rodriguez, who wowed the crowd with her upbeat mix of Pan American music. Cultura en Austin interviewed Rodriguez when she launched her EP “Sagüita al Bate.” We also included Rodriguez in the debut Austin Gente video, which explores Latino identity.

Clandestino All-Stars, a local group that began as a Manu Chao tribute band and now performs many hip-shaking grooves, brings together accomplished musicians Michael Ramos (Charanga Cakewalk), Greg Gonzalez (Grupo Fantasma/Brownout), Brian Ramos (Master Blaster Sound System), and Alex Marrero (Brown Sabbath/Ghandaia)

Latin rhythms later rounded out the night at the Historic Scoot Inn with the DJ collective Peligrosa, which recently launched their record label Discos Peligrosa.