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Bobcat alumnus explores Latin fusion with Grupo Fantasma

By Philip Hadley
University News Service
January 17, 2008


Gilbert Elorreaga

Gilbert Elorreaga received his bachelor’s of music degree from Texas State University-San Marcos in December 2003.  Little did he know he would become part of an award-winning Latin fusion orchestra.

Elorreaga was asked to join Grupo Fantasma in January 2002 as a trumpet player after briefly sitting in with the band at a nightclub in Austin. Elorreaga said music was his raison d'etre from a young age.

“I grew up with a musical influence, my father was a musician,” Elorreaga said. “I love music and I wanted to be part of a band that makes good money, travels, and takes care of its members. I couldn’t have asked for a better career, I get to perform and tour around the world.”

Elorreaga, a San Antonio native, played trumpet when he was in high school. He later enrolled in the Texas State School of Music. He chose Texas State because of its excellent reputation and close proximity to Austin and San Antonio.

“While attending school I played in all different types of bands,” Elorreaga said. “I played everything from funk to salsa. It was how I made ends meet while going to college. I attribute that experience, as well as my professor Keith Winking, for my success. I learned so much from him and he influenced me. He said I would have a lot of opportunities.”

Grupo Fantasma continues to ride the momentum of a very successful year. In August they performed with Prince in London in front of 20,000 people. They were aired nationally on PBS’s Austin City Limits in September. On New Year’s Eve they headlined at the Monarch New Year's Ball in Austin.

“We are constantly trying to make new music with reggae, funk and Latin beats,” Elorreaga said. “Our influences range anywhere from James Brown to Fania All-Stars”

On Friday at 10 p.m. the band will perform at Lucy’s on 141 E. Hopkins St. in San Marcos. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door or by visiting frontgatetickets.com.

Elorreaga said audience members should expect an excellent performance. He also guarantees a large volume of a particular demographic of the audience.

“People who attend will get to see a great show, with many different types of music, performed by a well oiled machine,” Elorreaga said. “As a band we all get along well and are in this 100 percent. At Lucy’s we expect a sold-out audience and a lot of ladies.”

Grupo Fantasma is the winner of six consecutive "Best Contemporary Latin Band" titles at the Austin Music Awards. They plan to release their fourth studio album in April. In February they will be touring the West Coast. For more information visit grupofantasma.com.