Edgy, versatile and fresh, Latin GRAMMY-winning 2019 Levitt National Tour artist Flor de Toloache is winning the hearts of Levitteers across the nation this summer. Much like the Toloache flower—known for its use in Mexican ‘love potions’—the ladies of Flor De Toloache are casting a spell over Levitt audiences with their soaring bilingual harmonies, playful gritos and magnetic stage presence. With three tour stops under their belt (SteelStacks, Sioux Falls and Dayton), ‘Las Flores’ are headed to Levitt Shell Memphis for their fourth tour stop this Friday and will wrap up the week with a Levitt Pavilion Arlington performance on Saturday (click here to check out all 2019 Levitt National Tour stops). August will bring them to Levitt Pavilion Denver and closing out the tour at Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles, capping off a tour that brought them to seven Levitt stages coast to coast as part of this year’s Levitt National Tour. In addition to their Levitt National Tour performances, the ladies of Flor de Toloache will grace Levitt AMP stages in Carson City, Nev., and Woonsocket, R.I. this summer.
One-of-a kind, genre-busting mariachi
Clad in fiery red blouses and silver-embellished black pants that shimmer in the early evening light—traditionally only worn by male mariachi performers—New York City’s first and only all-female mariachi group Flor de Toloache signals to concertgoers that they’re in for a one-of-a-kind, genre-busting mariachi experience before a single note has even been played. As pioneering musicians who’ve pushed barriers and carved out a bold path for themselves in a male-dominated genre, inclusivity is at the heart of their performances. “Everybody has laughed, everybody has cried…so we can ALL do this grito,” they told Levitt Shell Sioux Falls concertgoers earlier this month, inviting people of all ages and backgrounds to try the spontaneous shouts of joy that punctuate mariachi music. Whether audience members have grown up with mariachi music or are first-time listeners, Flor de Toloache’s love for the genre is contagious and their delivery is captivating. In a recent TedTalk, Flor de Toloache singer and violinist Mireya Ramos recalls listening to her father play mariachi music in San Juan, Puerto Rico, as a child. She was struck by the way his music moved and soothed its listeners, making them “feel something—that something that makes you tear up, makes your heart skip, makes you hold your breath…” It’s clear that she and her bandmates have taken a cue from her father, delivering performances that are raw, heartfelt and dotted with showstopping suspended notes that silence crowds and seem to pause time itself.
A year to remember
In addition to the Levitt National Tour, 2019 also saw the release of Flor de Toloache’s much-anticipated album, Indestructible. Described by NPR as an album that “stuns at the crossroads of fusion and mariachi girl magic,” Indestructible is packed with fresh interpretations of mariachi classics, unexpected pop covers and exciting collaborations with acclaimed artists like Alex Cuba, Josh Baca of Los Texmaniacs, Las Migas, Sinuhé Padilla, celebrated R&B singer Miguel and GRAMMY-winning artist John Legend (singing en español!).
Legend joined Flor de Toloache on “Quisiera,” to revamp a classic by Dominican icon Juan Luis Guerra with flavors of reggae and mariachi. Although ‘Las Flores’ were on tour while Legend was recording his part of the track, they recall walking down the street in Jersey City’s downtown, receiving a video snippet of his session and being moved to tears by his beautiful performance. “I got chills down my spine, my eyes teared up and I started jumping up and down,” said Ramos. “It’s surreal every time I hear our voices with his on “Quisiera.”
Indestructible is filled with delightful surprises for the listener—and some for the ladies of Flor de Toloache, as well! The album’s bachata-style track “Te Lo Dije” features GRAMMY-winning, platinum-selling R&B artist Miguel, who was recently put in touch with the band after family heritage was discovered between him and Ramos. With grandmothers who used to sing together back in Mexico, Miguel and Ramos continue their families’ collaborative musical legacy with the release of “Te Lo Dije.” “Here we are after decades of sacrifice…working together in the same way that our family was doing decades ago,” said Miguel in a recent NPR interview. Another unexpected turn of events was the opportunity to work with the legendary producer and audio engineer, Rafa Sardina. “We were at first nervous but excited and it ended up being such a magical experience,” Ramos shared. It was “truly special” to learn from him. Other exciting firsts on this album include a collaboration with Cuban-Canadian singer-songwriter Alex Cuba, who they had wanted to work with for years. And, on a more personal note, with new mothers in the group, it was the first time babies were present during recording sessions, allowing for some joyous “baby therapy” during their breaks.
Experience ‘Las Flores’
True to the bold, innovative spirit that has led this group from New York City subway station platforms to the GRAMMY Awards, Indestructible confidently embraces “mariachi fusion,” without losing the essence of the group’s instruments or concept. If you have not already had the opportunity, check out Indestructible and see for yourself how Flor de Toloache tastefully celebrates the past, present and future of mariachi music, while making the genre accessible to all in the process.
If you happen to be in Memphis, Arlington, Denver or Los Angeles, mark your calendars because the Levitt National Tour is headed your way! Come experience these magnetic stars in person fusing mariachi in new and unexpected ways.