Here’s How A Puerto Rican From New York Created A Mariachi Band That Would Not Only Fill A Void In The East Coast, But Get Nominated For A Grammy
Check out this performance from the Latin Grammy-nominated all-female mariachi band Flor de Toloache on #HarryTV!
Posted by Harry Connick Jr on Thursday, January 19, 2017
Flor De Toloache is a mariachi band with a mission: female empowerment.
Flor De Toloache was recently on Harry Connick Jr.’s new talk show, “Harry,” and the all-female mariachi group gave viewers chance to experience their powerful brand of ranchera music. Mireya Ramos, a founding member of the band, told Connick Jr. that the band came about from a love of music and a need for more women in the male-heavy mariachi music industry.
Ramos told Connick Jr. that she grew up with a mariachi father and fell in love with the music. After moving to NYC from Puerto Rico, Ramos’ first gig in the city was with a mariachi band. “And then I noticed that there weren’t very many women playing mariachi music in New York or any all-female groups like there was in the west coast,” Ramos told Connick Jr. “So, I was like, ‘Oh my God. We need to start our own group,’ to create a safe place for women to come together and make music and make money also. You know, living in New York’s expensive.”
So, how did this all-women mariachi band come to be?
The group has performed in France, Germany, Italy, the U.K., and the Netherlands, according to the band’s official website. They use the musical stylings of tradition Mexican mariachi but add their own twist, and some English lyrics, to make a sound all their own.
After so much attention abroad, U.S. mariachi fans started to take notice of the group. They were even nominated for a Latin-GRAMMY in 2015 for Best Ranchera Album.
The award ended up going to Pedro Fernandez, but the nomination was one moment that made Flor de Toloache’s journey worth while.
“We bring something very refreshing,” Ramos told Women You Should Know. “We have our own power and own command that we have to work harder for, however that translates, it’s different and special.”
Flor De Toloache is doing mariachi a little differently, incorporating women from different cultural backgrounds.
“The members hail from diverse cultural backgrounds such as Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Australia, Colombia, Germany, Italy and the United States,” reads the bio on the official website. “This defines their unique flavor and sound. The result of this cultural bouquet is an edgy, versatile and fresh take on traditional Mexican music.”
But the biggest mission of the mariachi group is giving women a chance to create music.
“I knew they were out there, but most of the musicians I worked with at the time were male,” Ramos told the Huffington Post. “It was also sort of an excuse to connect with other women artists. I wanted to create a platform for other women to be able to play other music and be known.”
As for why they chose to tackle the mariachi scene, it’s simple: more people are starting to appreciate the genre.
“Mariachi has been popular for over 100 years,” Ramos told the Wall Street Journal. “But now maybe it is getting more popular with more people who aren’t Mexican. So there is a blending of the cultures that seems to be taking place right now.”
BONUS: Check out their 20-minute Tiny Desk Concert for NPR below!
This is what modern mariachi sounds like and it’s pretty dope.
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