All-female mariachi band brings a whirlwind of Mexican folk music to Mass MoCA

Mariachi Flor de Toloache commands the courtyard at MASS MoCA on Saturday, August 6, at 8pm.

Mariachi Flor de Toloache commands the courtyard at MASS MoCA on Saturday, August 6, at 8pm.

Trailblazing Latin Grammy nominee Mariachi Flor de Toloache is New York City’s first all-female mariachi band. The band infuses a classic ranchero sound with bursts of hip-hop, soul, jazz, and salsa, and is about as much fun as it gets. Taking its name from the flower used as a love potion in Mexico, Mariachi Flor de Toloache seduces the audience this summer on MASS MoCA’s Dré Pavilion on Saturday, August 6, 2016at 8pm.

Started as a trio in 2008 by Mireya Ramos, who grew up in Puerto Rico listening to her father’s mariachi records, Mariachi Flor de Toloache began busking near Times Square and in subway stations, playing gigs wherever there was a song to sing. Eight years later, the band has grown to thirteen members, wielding violins, trumpets, guitarróns (bass), and vihuelas (five-string guitars). With “top-notch musicianship, mariachi swagger for days, and a performance style that captures all the power and emotion you’d hope for” (NPR Music), Flor de Toloache performs like a band of sisters — a whirlwind of Mexican folk music paired with a cosmopolitan edge that mesmerizes, intoxicates, and eventually pulls you to the dance floor.

Hailing from cultural backgrounds in all corners of the globe — Puerto Rico, Germany, Australia, Italy, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, the United States, and, of course, Mexico — Flor de Toloache spins many influences into its mariachi swagger — breathing Beyoncé-esque R&B riffs into traditional mariachi tunes and playing covers that range from jazz standard “Blue Skies” to Adele’s Top 40 hit “Rolling in the Deep.” The members shift seamlessly between Spanish and English in performance, and while their worldly New York City influences gives the music a fresh quality, they still remain faithful to the genre’s Mexican folk roots — their 2014 self-titled debut album earned a Latin Grammy nomination for Best Ranchera, and they always perform in traditional mariachi charro dress, trading in sombreros for the band’s namesake flower in each member’s hair.

Mariachi Flor de Toloache has won praise from Rolling Stone, Billboard, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Village Voice, which complimented the band’s “blasts of silvery and golden sounds” with “each stunning vocal peak.” The group recently toured the U.S. and Europe as the opening act for Dan Auerbach’s (of The Black Keys) side project The Arcs, and was embraced by the Latin music community at the 2015 Latin Grammy Awards, receiving a nomination and sharing the podium with legends Pedro Fernández and Aida Cuevas. Mariachi Flor de Toloache is currently working on its second studio album, after spending spring 2016 touring the West Coast, with an appearance at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

Mariachi Flor de Toloache commands the courtyard at MASS MoCA on Saturday, August 6, at 8pm. Dinner is available from Lickety Split before and during the show. A full bar serves Bright Ideas Brewing beers and Berkshire Mountain Distillery spirits. Concert tickets are $16 in advance and for students, $22 day of, and $28 preferred. Tickets for all events are available through the MASS MoCA box office located on Marshall Street in North Adams, open 10am to 6pm every day, with extended evening hours to 7pm on Thursdays through Saturdays. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 x1 during box office hours or purchased online at massmoca.org. All events are held rain or shine.

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