With the release of their first, self-titled album three years ago, New York-based mariachi band Flor de Toloache established themselves as a force to be reckoned with.
They were an all-woman, multinational group that took on the mariachi tradition with a fresh, take-no-prisoners attitude while incorporating their own musical influences — bachata, R&B, Americana — into it.
With their second recording, the recently released “Las Caras Lindas,” they have achieved another feat: they created an unlikely and beautiful mosaic of New York City using the minimalistic elements of mariachi.
“I think we wanted to take what we did on the first album, which worked beautifully, showcasing all the genres that we fused together, but our sound is more mature now,” says singer and violinist Mireya Ramos, one of the founding members of the band.
“Las Caras Lindas” will get its official release on June 16 and 17 at Joe’s Pub (425 Lafayette St.) in Manhattan.
The many layers to Flor de Toloache’s music became evident by basing the album’s title after Ismael Rivera’s “Las Caras Bonitas” – the pretty faces.
The song, originally recorded for a Fania tribute, has now been turned into a tour de force that brings together mariachi, Afro-Cuban elements and some rapping thanks to the guest talents of Puerto Rican MC Velcro and Cuban percussionist Pedrito Martinez.
It delivers its message of black pride while subtly commenting on the first approach some people may have to an all-female mariachi band.
“We present things to you in a way that’s digestible, so then you can think about them for a minute,” says band co-founder Shae Fiol.
The album was recorded at a hectic pace during a week-long session in a studio outside of Woodstock, N.Y. — something that brought the final product a rawness and honesty that they also wanted to impress on the tracks themselves, which were cut from vocal takes of live performances.
“Leaving something imperfect is also empowering,” Fiol says.
‘It’s telling you, ‘This is who I am, raw.'”
For more VIVA articles and the latest on Latino lifestyle, entertainment, sports, health and fashion, click here.
Send a Letter to the Editor