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Spotlight On Grupo X

When did the band first form?

[Jonny Enright] Grupo X came into being in 1996. Initially the band was formed as a small version of legendary London salsa band La Clave (check out "Salsa Feeling" - Jimmy L M & La Clave De Londres, International Records 2002), to do corporate functions and weddings, etc. Then I started to take it more seriously and began to write for the band. Before long, we had begun to establish our own sound.

Who are the current members and what are their backgrounds?

[Jonny Enright] Mainly London-based, Grupo X's line-up has a combined wealth of experience in many styles, having toured and recorded with artists including: Orlando Watusi, Tito Allen, Adalberto Santiago, Alfredo De La Fe, Pucho & the Latin Soul Brothers, Snowboy, Lo Fidelity Allstars, Bjork, Tanita Tikarem, The Braxtons, Kirsty MacColl, Babyface, Dina Carroll, David Gray, Billy Bragg, Fairground Attraction, Talk Talk, Julian Lennon, Bootsy Collins, Gregory Isaacs, Dennis Brown, Jhelisa Anderson, Ornette Coleman.

Jonny Enright - bandleader (trombone, backing vocals)
Jimmy Le Messurier (timbales, drums, percussion, backing vocals)
Pete Eckford (congas, percussion)
Simon Edwards (bass)
John Crawford (piano)
Olly Drew (guitar)
Trevor Mires (trombone)
Finn Peters (flute/alto and tenor saxes)


What brought everyone together as one band?

[Jonny Enright] Grupo X's line-up came together because of the skills of each musician, their appreciation of the groove and for their love and respect for Latin music. Everyone brings his own musical experiences to Grupo X, giving it a unique sound.

It also helps that we all get along famously, like a good laugh, a few drinks and a bit of a "hang" after gigs.

How would you describe your music and playing style?

[Jonny Enright] First and foremost, Grupo X plays dance music. Our sound owes a lot to the sound of Latin New York in the 60s and 70s, mixed with essences of the music we've grown up with and played in other bands (jazz, reggae, soul and funk).

We've also picked up a lot from our experiences as backing band (both with Grupo X and La Clave) to stars of Latin music such as Tito Allen, Orlando Watusi, Alfredo Rodriquez, Jimmy Bosch, Jack Costanzo, Bobby Matos, Dave Pike and Johnny Blas.

We've had our most success from our particular style of English vocal Latin Soul. Our track Brand New Love (featuring Lisa Millett on vocals) has crossed over various scenes (salsa, jazz, house, world) and been picked up by influential DJs (including Louis Vega, Bobbito, Giles Peterson) along the way.

"Guaguanco En Chicago Chico"

What image do you think your music conveys?

[Jonny Enright] We like to have a good time when we get together and play and, hopefully, this comes across to our audiences.

I'd like to think that we play great, swinging dance music, but if you peel off a few layers, there's a deeper, darker element, both rhythmically and harmonically. So you could enjoy our music just as much on the dance floor or at home on your stereo with your pipe and slippers.

Who are some of the other artists that you enjoy or draw inspiration from?

[Jonny Enright] Everyone in the band has their own favourites, but from a personal perspective; Eddie Palmieri, Manny Oquendo and Libre, Cachao, Jimmy Bosch, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Bob Marley, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, The Beatles, The Beach Boys.

Listen To & Buy Music From GRUPO X

Instant Music Downloads for Only 99¢ Per Song

Tell us about your CD releases? How many have you had? What is your latest like?

[Jonny Enright] We've had one CD release, "X-Posure" (LOFTCD01). It has done really well, gaining a lot of radio and DJ play internationally. Three of the tracks (Brand New Love, Jonny's Bugalu and Mi Tumbao) have been licensed to many compilation CDs worldwide. All the tracks are original, written by members of the band.

"Eye 2 Eye"

We've also had two releases on vinyl, the Brand New Love and X-Perience Eps (LOFTEP01JAP and LOFTEO02JAP), both with Lisa Millett on vocals and both Enright/Le Messurier compositions. These were released initially for the Japanese market, and subsequently went on sale worldwide.

We are currently working on our next release (due out around September, this year). We've chosen to record in an old analogue studio in London and are really happy with the sound we've got. The album is all original (mostly by myself and Jimmy Le Messurier) and features more crossover English lyrics with Afro Cuban beats and lots of swinging trombone monas. Although the jazz influence is still there, the songs have more of a rootsy feel. We've also included a couple of up-tempo salsa duras aimed at the dance floor.

How often do you play live, how can someone check out one of your shows?

[Jonny Enright] At the moment, we're fairly quiet on the live front, but we hope to tour the UK to coincide with our album launch. Then if it does well, who knows, a world tour beckons. Agents had better get in touch right now!

"Mi Tumbao"

How are your live shows different from listening to your CD?

[Jonny Enright] Not much, apart from we're physically there (well most of the time, anyway). We try and get the live vibe onto our albums as much as possible. Of course you've got to see us live to see Olly throw his guitar over his shoulders and go down on his knees. And I've been known to project my trombone slide into the crowd at moments of high emotion.

Now that Latin music has become a staple genre in terms of popularity, where does your group fit in?

[Jonny Enright] It's safe to say that we'll never trouble Christina or Enrique in terms of popularity, but hopefully we'll go on gaining respect and selling records and be around producing quality music for years to come.

In what ways are you promoting your music?

[Jonny Enright] A good friend of the band's, Lubi Jovanovic, does our promotional work. He knows just about everyone there is to know in the Latin world and does a great job of getting our music out there.

"The X-Factor"

How do you use the Internet to promote your music?

[Jonny Enright] Grupo X has a website (www.grupo-x.com). We feature on many more sites as well.

What difficulties have you encountered as an independent band?

[Jonny Enright] The most obvious difficulty is not having a record label with enough clout to get our music the profile we think it deserves.

"Que Suene"

What does the future hold for your band?

[Jonny Enright] I am hopeful that we'll become a familiar name on the international festival circuit and that our records will sell by the bucket load. And after we have recovered from the inevitable drug addictions and lawsuits, the members of Grupo X can retire to a salsa rest home by the sea.

Anything else you'd care to add to the mix?

[Jonny Enright] If anyone has any questions or comments feel free to email me: jonathan.enright@zen.co.uk


Listen To & Buy Music From GRUPO X

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