Mariachi Band Flor de Toloache Empowers Women

The 2017 Latin Grammy winner for best Mariachi Album, Flor de Toloache will be performing at Thin Line Fest this Sunday. In a genre dominated by men, this mariachi band made a legendary mark by being the first all-female band to win the award. Talk about woman power. This mariachi band, which originated from New York City promises to bring Dentonites an energetic yet intimate performance. 

“We’re all focused on playing and singing a lot of the time,” said co-founder Shae Fiol. “It’s pretty entertaining to be able to see us doing all of those things, all at once and it’s surprisingly powerful for a band our size.”

Their band name ‘Flor de Toloache’ is a Mexican flower used in love potions. Much like the name itself, this band, composed of four members, has won multiple hearts on stages like Madison Square Garden and in countries like Europe and India. They have also been featured in a fashion campaign for Kate Spade’s 2017 Summer Collection

With members of the band originating from various parts of the world like Mexico, Puerto Rico, Germany, and the United States, they bring a culturally vibrant performance, adding to the traditional mariachi sounds that originated from Jalisco, Mexico in the 19th century. Although these women take pride in their accomplishments, they believe their music has the equivalent effect to listeners despite the composition of their band. 

“We as human beings, we feel the same thing,” said founding member, Mireya Ramos. “I think a male mariachi band could be as passionate as a woman one. We just add a feminine touch but with the same kind of power..”
 
They are not signed to a big record label, but the impact they’ve made on their audience is far larger than what they’ve imagined. From receiving videos of children performing to their music to being the focus of school projects, the women recognize the empowerment they gift to others. Something they hope will evolve to an even greater impact within society such as the unaccounted women in the music industry. With awards usually presented to the same individuals, the recognition they have received creates a light of hope that there will be a wave of change that allows others to display their talent.  

 “The fact that they see what we’re doing that they recognize it,” said Ramos. “I hope that they can recognize other women too. There’s tons of other women doing amazing things in the music industry so I think that opens the doors to many possibilities.”

Though their endeavoring journey, these ladies have encountered inevitable criticism for changing the traditional realm of mariachi. They’ve heard it all; From people disapproving of their heels instead of the normative boots to the style of bows used in their charro suits. What these critics don’t understand is that their style of music is a reflection of their New York environment, not the areas of mariachi's origins such as Mexico or the southwest region of the United States. 

“What we do is true to who we are,” said Ramos. “I feel like that’s what art is, it’s an expression of yourself, it’s an extension of you so if you’re an artist or a musician or whatever you do try to be as true as possible to yourself.”

Together these ladies serve as a support system to each other. They have a passion for music and enjoy listening to multiple genres that help them create their own. Although on stage they steer away from tradition, they are thankful for the music's history and say without the rich traditions of Mexico their band would not exist. 

Unfortunately, co-founder, Shae Fiol will not accompany the band as they take the stage of Harvest House on Sunday at 7 p.m; In three weeks she will be welcoming a baby girl. Taking Fiol’s place is Edna Vazquez, who will be with the band for half of the summer. Vazquez, described as a fierce signer and songwriter, will join Ramos in their duet.

“We love playing in Texas,” said Fiol. “Although I wont be able to enjoy the warm weather, if it’s warm there … it’s always something to look forward to.”

Flor de Toloache will perform at Harvest House on Sunday, April 22 as part of Thin Line Fest. For more info visit the  Facebook event or thinline.us.

Header image courtesy of Flor de Toloache
Header image layout design by Mateo Granados