The Real Grammy Gold

By: José Manuel Simián

You won't see too much love going from this site to the Latin Grammys, which, as you may know, take place this Thursday, November 18. 

Why? Simply because there's way too much good Latin music out there to focus on the same artists (ahem, labels) year after year.

So no, we won't jump of joy if Miguel Bosé or Alejandro Sanz get their umpteenth statuette in Las Vegas (although we may if Natalia Lafourcade wins a bunch of them, to be honest). 

But we digress. We're trying really hard to focus on the positive, and there's one category we'll be following closely: that of Best Ranchero Album. 

Why? Because of Mariachi Flor de Toloache, an impressive mariachi band formed in New York City in 2008 that has been revitalizing the traditional Mexican genre not only by defying its gender and cultural conventions (they are an all-female and multi-national ensemble), but also by adding hip attitude to it and performing some unexpected pop covers.

See for yourself what we're talking about in this pop medley performance shot at NYC's Rockwood Music Hall in 2013:  

Their Grammy nomination is for their eponymous debut album, which balances wonderful renditions of Mexican and Latin American standards ("Cucurrucucú Paloma," "La Llorona," "Bésame Mucho") with original tracks in English like R&B-meets-mariachi "Let Down" or the smokey bachata "When We Love." Track after track, Mariachi Flor de Toloache is a winner, one of those albums that expands the notion of what we understand for Latino music.

After years of playing in small clubs and being a secret for those in the know, Flor de Toloache is finally hitting the big time. This year, they've opened for Lila Downs at the Apollo and even indie star Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys recruited them to record and perform with his new band The Arcs. 

So yes, we'll be rooting for Mariachi Flor de Toloache on Thursday night, even when the Ranchero category is not likely to be awarded on the main event. Which to us is not a problem really. We may not need to tune into the show at all!

Listen to Mariachi Flor de Toloache's debut album here:

José Manuel Simián is the Executive Editor of Manero. He used to be a lawyer and is probably listening to Bob Dylan as you read this.