Grupo Fantasma

The cultural and musical explosion that epitomizes Grupo Fantasma is no small secret in Texas. The Latin-based 11-piece ensemble, formed in 2000, cut a stunning live album at Antone's last year and has performed on Austin City Limits (both the music festival and the television series), but it was the artist once again known as Prince who single-handedly took the group to that level. Following a one-off performance at his Las Vegas club 3121, the Purple One booked Grupo for a two-month weekly residency, followed by a gig at London's O2 Arena that coincided with Prince's BBC Radio session. "It was ridiculous," recalls guitarist Adrian Quesada. "We played in front of 20,000 people on the same symbol stage he used for the Super Bowl, and he brought us back out for the 'Get on the Boat' encore." The experience taught the band an important lesson about the value of discipline. "There were no distractions," Quesada says. "We rehearsed with him for a week straight in L.A. He literally tore the band apart and brought us back together the way he wanted us to sound. It's crazy, because he can jump on every instrument and show you what to do."


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