Meet the First Ladies of Mariachi

It's rare to see women in a Mariachi band. Flor de Toloache has nine with diverse backgrounds and repertoire.

Flor de Toloache, New York City's first all-women mariachi group. (Emily Jan)

Often, the image of mariachi is men in large hats strumming guitars. Flor de Toloache, New York City's first all-female mariachi band, dispels that myth. The group was cofounded in 2008 by Mireya Ramos and Shae Fiol.

While some Flor de Toloache band members are of Mexican descent, others have more wide-ranging roots, from Australia to Puerto Rico. In addition to their diverse cultural backgrounds, the band has a wealth of musical diversity. Most members also play in different bands or have solo projects ranging from classical to jazz and Afrobeat—and they incorporate their mix of styles into their repertoire.

Next America visited the band for a recent performance during a Frida Kahlo exhibit at the New York Botanical Garden.

Emily Jan
Emily Jan

Shae Fiol, vihuela and vocals

Cofounder of Flor de Toloache.

Cuban-American born in Portland, Oregon.

Luisa Bastidas, violin

Born and raised in Cali, Colombia.

Mireya Ramos: violinist, vocalist, composer, and arranger

Cofounder of Flor de Toloache.

Dominican and Mexican descent, raised in Puerto Rico.

Emily Jan

Marilyn Castillo, guitar and vocals

From Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

Rachel Therrien, trumpet

French-Canadian from Eastern Quebec.

Domenica Fossati, flute

African American and Italian, raised in Venezuela and Miami.

Julie Acosta, trumpet

Dominican, born in Miami.

Jackie Coleman, trumpet

African American from Indianapolis.

Lisa Dowling, bass and guittaron (mariachi equivalent of the bass)

From Brisbane, Australia.

A dancer at Flor de Toloache's performance at the New York Botanical Garden Frida Kahlo exhibit. (Emily Jan)