Flor De Toloache talks music and tradition

Published 5:01 pm Friday, July 27, 2018

The second week of the Levitt AMP Middlesboro Music Series brought some fresh blood, musically speaking, to the concert series.

After local band Long Neck Gypsies got the audience pumped, all-female Mariachi band Flor De Toloache hit the stage with their blend of traditional and modern Mariachi stylings.

Their performance was energetic and varied, and the crowd responded in kind to the new musical experience they were treated to. After the show, the four girls of Flor De Toloache sat down to talk Mariachi and their experience.

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The band explained the Mariachi is a tradition passed by ear, a community or family member. It started as a very small assemble with a violin, harp and a type of Mexican guitar.

“Later on, the assemble grew into a big orchestra with many violins and the trumpet was added,” said band member Mireya Ramos.

The band stated that the music reflects different regions and styles of music from Mexico.

“Mireya and I met and start playing music,” said Shae Fiol. “(Mireya) was one of the only women at all in the Mariachi scene, and she said she wanted to start and all-women Mariachi. I just said yes.”

Fiol and Ramos dove headlong into crafting their music. Fiol didn’t know much Mariachi at all but learned along the way. Through their experience, they picked up other women to fill out their band and that is where they are today.

Mariachi is traditionally a male endeavor, and the band stated that they have received a variety of reactions since forming.

“Some are negative and that’s what stands out, unfortunately. But I like to talk about the time we went to Mexico. We were all kind of scared how they would respond to our group because we were kind of rebels in our field, so we were worried by a lot of the comments we received. But when we went to Mexico, they loved us,” said member Julie Acosta.

The band stated that while they receive comments about not following the rigidity of tradition that comes with Mariachi music, the support and appreciation from everywhere they go is far more prevalent.