MACUILXOCHITL: “Five Flower,” the Aztec god of music and dance
By Francisco Ciriza
The groundbreaking Latin collective musical outfit, Grupo Fantasma, will be one of the featured highlights of this year’s 35th annual Chicano Park Day, which will be held on Saturday, April 23, 2005, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, at the historic park, located in the heart of Barrio Logan just south of downtown San Diego.
The family oriented celebration is free and open to the public and will again feature traditional music and dance, including performances of indigenous dancers, as well as live contemporary Latin jazz and rock. Locals Agua Dulce and the Kings of Barrio Logan music, Los Alacranes will once again provide their splendid sounds to the day’s festivities.
Austin,Texas’ Grupo Fantasma is in the midst of nationwide tour that essentially began shortly after the release of their second CD, Movimiento Popular in 2004. Released on their own Aire Sol label, the disc discovers the band flexing their muscles via an eclectic set of sixteen tunes drenched in traditional Latin rhythms, vocal styles, and Spanish language lyrics. The band has continued to tour literally all over the country and apparently with some credible positive response as proof of their success.
With the help of some key figures close to the band, Grupo Fantasma has secured a record distribution pact that promises to truly support the group in in its efforts to get its music out to the fans.
La Prensa San Diego spoke with band front man, Adrian Quesada, as the group, packed in a van, left New York City and began its venture west for a series of concert dates that will bring the band to San Diego for not only two shows this Saturday but for an upcoming encore performance at Voz Alta.
“We basically got about 30 bands together and told the distributors, ‘We can offer this…’. It’s an unprecedented deal, which will hopefully give each of the bands as well as the distributor a substantial set of rewards,” said Quesada.
Grupo Fantasma’s rise to the top of the independent music heap can be attributed to both their innovative musical style of and their unrivaled work ethic, exemplified by the band’s most recent leg of its mammoth tour that has taken its 12 members to cities on the east coast, west coast, and all points in between. When it’s all said and done, Grupo Fantasma will have hit 23 cities in 13 states in just over one-month’s time which includes stops in Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles, Denver, and San Francisco, and San Diego. Prior to the tour the group once again performed at the nation’s largest and most respected independent music festival, South by Southwest (SXSW), in Austin. Last year, the group opened for Los Lonely Boys in front of a record crowd of over 23,000.
After the tour, Quesada and the rest of Grupo Fantasma look forward to their next CD which will also benefit from the new nationwide distribution deal with Justicia y Verdad Records. The band’s CD’s will now be available in stores across the country in addition to being available online at www.texasmusicroundup.com/
The deal also allows the band to sell their music in Target stores nationwide beginning April 1, 2005.
“We really have enough material for two CD’s, but we’ll work through them and trim it down to one,” laughed Qesdada who continued by explaining that the one thing that has kept the conjunto together for so long is it’s members ability to also laugh.
“The most important thing is we’re friends and that everyone knows how to laugh.”