Grupo Fantasma

Movimiento Popular

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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.

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