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With Prince's Backing, a Latin Band Soars

An artist as elusive as they come, Prince hasn't often taken bands under his wing in recent years. But the Austin-based Latin outfit Grupo Fantasma, which played a two-month Thursday-night stint at Prince's Las Vegas nightclub last year, has increasingly found itself taking on the role of his "unofficial" backing band for concerts, parties, and events.

Grupo Fantasma first formed in 2000, and the 11-piece orchestra quickly made its mark by thrilling local audiences with high-energy live performances. The band's latest release, the appropriately titled Grupo Fantasma Comes Alive, was recorded before a live audience at Antone's in Austin. Just one great highlight in a seamless set, "Oye Mi Cumbia" — with its blaring trumpets and funky rhythm section — clearly illustrates the raw power that Grupo Fantasma brings with it, whenever and wherever it's on stage.

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Lily Percy
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