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Texas State alum nominated for Grammy with Grupo Fantasma

By Lauren A. Lamb
University News Service
February 5, 2009

Gilbert Elorreaga

Gilbert Elorreaga

Music has been trumpet player Gilbert Elorreaga’s passion for as long as he can remember. But, the 2003 graduate of the Texas State University-San Marcos music program never dreamed he would become a member of the award-winning Latin orchestra, Grupo Fantasma.

“I love music and I wanted to be part of a band that gets to travel and takes care of its members.  I couldn’t have asked for anything better because, I get to perform around the world,” Elorreaga said.

Soon a new chapter could begin in the group’s career as they wait to see whether their latest album, Sonidos Gold, will win the award for 'Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album' category at the 51st annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 8. Elloreaga, who said that the band still routinely tours around in a van and has sold about 18,000 copies of their albums, is excited about the possibility of winning a Grammy. “We never saw this coming, I’m still in shock over the opportunity we have here,” he said.

“We are a Latin band from Austin,” Elorreaga said. “Most of our music, even 90 percent is original, and there are other parts of the country with a bigger draw to the Latin music industry.”

In addition to their Grammy nomination, Elloreaga and the band have been busy playing at recording artist Prince’s club 3121 in Las Vegas. Prince has used them as an opening act on more than one occasion, including an event for the Golden Globes. Last week, Prince played with Grupo Fantasma at his Super Bowl party hosted for CBS. 

“Prince is an idol of ours and he typically doesn’t play with other groups,” Elloreaga said. “But when he calls and tells us to meet him somewhere and play, of course we go.”

Since Elloreaga joined Grupo Fantasma in 2002, they have won several honors at the Austin Music Awards, appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and the PBS’ program Austin City Limits. 

So what’s next on the agenda for Elloreaga and Grupo Fantasma? He expects that their next album will be released in 2010 and that the band’s tour will take them across the country and to Europe in the coming months. “No matter what happens on Sunday, people can always expect an excellent performance from us,” Elloreaga said.

Even though he loves traveling to perform, Elloreaga said he will always be passionate about teaching children to play the trumpet. “You don’t need a college degree to be a good performer,” he said. “But I hope that by surrounding me with a lot of good players and music during my time at Texas State, that my professors helped me become a good teacher too.”

Grupo Fantasma will perform at Bar One 41, formerly known as Lucy,’s at 9 p.m. on Feb. 21 in San Marcos. For more information visit www.grupofrantasma.com.