By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jul 13, 2009 at 8:18 AM

If you don't know about Austin, Texas latin funk orchestra Grupo Fantasma yet, then you just haven't been paying attention.

In addition to having performed with everyone from Prince to Spoon, the group has won nod a Grammy for its 21-century latin jazz and the media -- everyone from Pollstar to NPR's "Day to Day" and PRI's "The World" -- have gone ga-ga for this 10-piece outfit. Grupo Fantasma has played around the world and has even done two trips to Iraq to perform for American troops.

All Music Guide noted, "The grassroots success of Grupo Fantasma marks them as one of the decade's most important artists in the Latin genre."

Three dates into its summer tour -- Thursday, July 16 -- the group plays at The Mad Planet.

The tour is in support of the band's 2008 disc, "Sonidos Gold," which sat for months in the top 10 of CMJ's world music chart and earned the Grammy nomination.

Getting noticed by the Grammy people is very satisfying, says Jose Galeano, the band's elder statesman and main songwriter.

"Just like Prince's seal of approval, the Grammy nomination sends a message that the band's music and performances are of the highest quality, and that we can conquer anything we put our minds to. It is quite an accomplishment. Finally the masses will know that we kick some serious ass!," says Galeano, who is the nephew of the infamous Santana percussionist "Chepito."

For a look at Grupo Fantasma, check out this video:

Some other gigs on tap this week include:

The Dutchess and The Duke, The Goodnight Loving, The Sugar Stems and The Get Drunk DJs combine their considerable talents for a 9 p.m. show in the back room at Club Garibaldi in Bay View on Thursday, July 16.

Shank Hall hosts Gentle Giant tribute band Gende's Giant on Saturday, July 18. Opening is Robin Trower tribute band The Bridge, feature guitarist Rick Young.

Smooth jazz sax man Dave Koz hits the road with multi-instrumentalist Brian Culbertson in support of their respective new discs -- "Greatest Hits" and "Bringing Back the Funk" -- and perform at the Riverside on Sunday, July 19 at 8 p.m.

The following night, legendary and extra-influential Downtown NYC outfit Sonic Youth gets all fuzzy at Turner Hall at 8 p.m. Awesome Color opens. A few blocks away at The Pabst Blitzen Trapper and Loch Lomond play a $10, lower level show at 8 p.m.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.