Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Purple State of John
Thoughts of a wordslinger…
Lately, Austin, Texas has become an integral part of my New Years transition and resolution. At the end of 2007, I went to see the Old 97’s at Zona Rose in Austin and capped off the night with a meal of pork tamales in chile verde. I resolved then and there to become better acquainted with the 97’s back catalogue and to eat more and better Mexican food in 2008. Mission accomplished, I’m proud to say.
This year’s blog starts in Massachusetts, but features an amazing Austin band, Grupo Fantasma, ten guys on horns, timbales, congas, bass, lead and rhythm guitar. They deliver a sound that has to be heard to be believed, a cross between traditional cumbia and salsa, James Brown funk and Santana rock. I saw them Sunday night after a hearty meal of taquitos, plantains, yucca and beans and wrote this review for No Depression:
Maybe it was the spectacle of a pack of New Englanders busting their Latin moves in the deep midwinter. Maybe it was the prospect of winning a Grammy next month for their most recent record Sonidos Gold. Or maybe it was the fact that they’d just played a few songs in New York the night before with salsa pioneer Larry Harlow. Whatever the reason, when the Austin funk, rock and frijoles outfit Grupo Fantasma showed up on a frozen Sunday night in Northampton, they melted the last of the ice.Lead singer and timbalero supremo Jose Galeano, the nephew of Santana percussionist Jose “Chepito” Areas, occupied center stage and set the tone for a raging set that …
(Catch the rest at ND)
As for this year’s New Years resolutions, here’s what I’m thinking. Having succeeded last year on the Mexican food front, I’m going to double down on that for 2009, and in the same spirit, I pledge to spend more time this year with Latin sounds. I expect to succeed on both counts beyond my wildest expectations.
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