For All-Female Mariachi Band Flor de Toloache, Breaking Rules Paid Off

(Photo by Andrei Averbuch, courtesy of Flor de Toloache, via El Diario)

The all-female mariachi Flor de Toloache will start 2019 with great expectations and projects, including a new show in the city and the release of a new record.

The group, which won a Grammy for the album “Las caras lindas” (2017), will perform on Saturday, Jan. 5, at the Highline Ballroom, in a concert they predict will be very special (…).

“… We will offer a sneak peek of our new album in this show. Musician and composer Antonio Sánchez will also perform with us alongside his Migration Band. You cannot miss this concert,” said Mireya Ramos, founder of the mariachi group.

(…) “People know mariachi Flor de Toloache for our fusion of alternative rhythms with [traditional] rancheras; because we mix styles as diverse as Yoruba rhythms or cumbia. For this new album, we were joined by composer and producer Camilo Lara, a fantastic experience that will be reflected in our new songs,” said Ramos. Lara was a cultural music consultant for the Disney-Pixar movie “Coco.”

When they first appeared on the scene, Flor de Toloache broke stereotypes for many reasons: They are a mariachi group composed entirely of women and they propose a different way to interpret rancheras.

Violinist, vocalist and composer Mireya Ramos admits that not everything has been a bed of roses for the group. (…)

“When we first came out, we thought that everything was in our favor. From the beginning we set out to offer music with our own trademark style, but that was precisely what brought on criticism and even the rejection of some sectors in the mariachi community. This response was due to the fact that we were breaking with tradition. We dared to mix different rhythms and, even physically, we did not dress or style our hair the way women mariachis do, and that ruffled some feathers,” said the artist.

Another aspect that Ramos considers was not well received by more traditional mariachi groups was that the Flor de Toloache members come from different countries, not only Mexico. Ramos herself is of Dominican and Mexican descent and grew up in Puerto Rico.

“Shae Fiol, a member and founder of the group who is also a vocalist and plays the vihuela, is of Cuban-American heritage. Noemi Gasparini, singer and violinist, was born in France and is of Italian and Mexican descent, and Jackie Coleman, trumpet player and composer, was born in Indiana. There is a very rich fusion of cultures between all of us, which was frowned upon by many. However, we are proud of our origins, of our diversity and of being able to make this music we love,” said Ramos.

(…)

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