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Mariachi Flor de Toloache

An unexpected approach to traditional Mexican music
Photo: Taken from Flor de Toloache Instagram account
19/12/2017
16:45
New York
Alejandra Musi
-A +A

Mariachi Flor de Toloache (Toloache Flower) is not the first mariachi female band, yet it may be the most multicultural mariachi band.

Founded in 2008, Mariachi Flor de Toloache is lead by singers Mireya I. Ramos (founder) and Shae Fiol (founding member). The group started as a trio, Harp, Violin, and Vihuela, yet today it is a full Mariachi ensemble.

Its members come from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Australia, Colombia, Germany, Italy and the United States, which gives Mariachi Flor de Toloache a unique sound which translates into an unexpected approach to traditional Mexican music.

Their songs embrace contemporary elements that make their music both modern and authentic, which have led to criticism on their music since they do not follow the traditional Mariachi formula.

After many years fighting against stereotypes, the Latin GRAMMY finally decided to reward their music by bringing new lyrics, sounds, and charisma to mariachi music.

Mariachi Flor de Toloache previously earned a 2015 Latin GRAMMY nomination for Best Ranchero Album for their self-titled album, however, it was at the 18th Latin GRAMMY Awards when they were able to take home their first career Latin GRAMMY win for Best Ranchero/Mariachi Album for Las Caras Lindas (Pretty Faces).

In an interview with EL UNIVERSAL, Mireya Ramos and Shae Fiol shared why Mariachi Flor de Toloache fuses with uniqueness casting a spell over their audiences just like the love potions made from Toloache flower (Toloache is claimed to be the main ingredient to the most popular herbal love brew in Mexico folklore).

According to Mireya Ramos, who is half Dominican and half Mexican, but grew up in Puerto Rico listening to her father’s mariachi recordings and performances, "the experience of winning a Latin Grammy is like a dream,” adding that the award “impulses them to continue betting on representing women, putting the ranchero genre at the top and introducing Latino culture to more people."

Mireya Ramos emphasizes why it is important not to follow the traditional Mariachi formula: “We focus on having our own voice as women because, in mariachi music, there are no songs written by women, all the mariachi songs are written by men, from a male perspective."

According to Shae Fiol, a half-Cuban singer from Oregon, in Mexico there are fewer and fewer performers of ranchero music and radio stations are not playing the genre that often since people no longer identify with ranchero music.

"I would feel like a fraud if I only wrote traditional ranchero music without contributing to the genre. That is our mission as musicians: to give contemporaneity and evolution to the music we write," she concluded.

Meet Mariachi Flor de Toloache.

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