They are on their debut trip to India and the members of Mariachi band, Flor de Toloache, are loving every bit of the country. “The trip has been magical and insightful. We’ve enjoyed the food and the music. We learn something new in every city and get to meet wonderful people. Everyone has been so warm,” says Mireya Ramos, the founder of the band.
11-year-old mariachi singer Sebastian De La Cruz poses after an attempt with 599 other mariachi performers to break the Guiness World Records title for the most mariachi musicians performing together in California. (AFP)
Having performed in Amritsar, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata, the band has now arrived in Delhi and is gung-ho about performing at the American Centre. “In Amritsar, we got to learn giddha (Punjabi folk dance) and performed at the end of our show, sharing the stage with the lovely Punjabi ladies. We plan to create the same magic in Delhi,” says Ramos. Their performance is part of US embassy’s initiative to bring dancers, musicians and artists to India for cultural exchange.
With a background in Mariachi singing, Ramos, along with two other female musicians established the band in 2008. “It took a lot of hard work to find musicians with interest and time to be a part of this band,” says Ramos. Today, Flor de Toloache is a full-fledged band with members from different backgrounds. Maya Shanker on violin is an Indian-origin American with roots in Chennai.
Besides, traditional Mariachi repertoire, the band also plays pop covers, jazz standards and has created its own fusion songs that include salsa, Cumbia, Afro beat and more. On being coined first and only female Mariachi band, Ramos, says, “It feels empowering! We feel blessed and excited. Also, it is a great responsibility to carry such a beautiful tradition with respect and passion and to be making history with it.”
What is Mariachi?
Mariachi is a form of folk music from Mexico. The word mariachi was thought to have derived from the French word mariage (marriage), dating from the French Intervention in Mexico in the 1860s, related to the music’s appearance at weddings. It was originally played only with string instruments and musicians dressed in the white pants and shirts like farmers. Modifications of the music include influences from other music such as polkas and waltzes and the addition of trumpets.
Catch it live
What: Flor de Toloache, a band performance
Where: American Centre, Kasturba Gandhi Marg, Connaught Lane
Timings: 7 pm onwards
Nearest Metro Station: Rajiv Chowk on the Yellow Line