Count Basie Theatre announces first-ever Basie Mariachi Festival
(RED BANK | MARCH 23) Drawing on years of successful and renowned Cinco de Mayo concert celebrations, the Count Basie Theatre today announced its first-ever mariachi festival, to take place on Friday, May 4, 2018 at the historic nonprofit theater.
The BASIE MARIACHI FESTIVAL stars New York’s all-female Mariachi Flor de Toloache, celebrated Xalapa, Mexico natives Villalobos Brothers, and Calpulli Mexican Dance Company, the nonprofit Queens-based troupe that teaches dance and advocates for the preservation and display of Mexican culture.
“Mariachi music is the heart and soul of Mexican culture and tradition,” said Adam Philipson, President and CEO, Count Basie Theatre. “The Basie is part of a community rich in Hispanic heritage and our Mariachi Festival will be a celebration of the diversity of our region. “
“We grew up in Mexico,” noted Alberto Villalobos, one of the three, violin-wielding Villalobos Brothers, “going to formal music school and also playing rancheras (traditional, pre-revolution Mariachi) and boleros (slow-tempo, Latin-influenced music) with our grandmother. Our love for music has grown every day — and now, we are a touring band, exploring the sounds of many different styles of music including of course Mexican folk.”
“We are excited to join forces with the historic Count Basie Theatre in this authentic celebration of Mexican culture in the city of Red Bank and we are looking forward to meeting many new friends there.”
“Calpulli and the Count Basie Theatre have been partners now for a few years,” said Juan Castro, Managing Director, Calpulli Mexican Dance Company. “I can say that without a doubt that the leaders at the Count Basie Theatre are committed to their community, which is a value we share. Their year-long work to have the Mexican and Hispanic community in general represented in their programming both on stage and through education attests to their commitment.”
Flor de Toloache
Latin Grammy nominees Mariachi Flor de Toloache are New York’s first and only all-woman Mariachi group. Founded in 2008, Mariachi Flor de Toloache is led by founders Mireya I. Ramos & Shae Fiol. Reminiscent of the early days of mariachi, the group started as a trio, accompanied by harp, violin and vihuela – the guitar-shaped, double-stringed instrument most often associated with mariachi music. Today, Mariachi Flor De Toloache performs as a full ensemble, with members hailing from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Australia, Colombia, Germany, Italy and the United States. This diversity defines their unique flavor and sound: a cultural bouquet that’s an edgy, versatile and fresh take on traditional Mexican music. Mariachi Flor de Toloache coalesce like a band of sisters, with a grace and vibrant beauty that casts a spell over their audiences not unlike the legendary Toloache flower, used to this day in Mexico as a love potion. While working to preserve centuries-old traditions of Mariachi, their mélange of the traditional and the modern pushes the boundaries of the genre and brings Mariachi music to new audiences.
Mariachi Flor De Toloache’s critically acclaimed self-titled debut album received a Latin Grammy nomination for “Best Ranchero/Mariachi Album” in 2015. The group is currently ready to go on tour in support of their new record Las Caras Lindas, released by Daptone distributed, New York City-based Chulo Records.
The Villalobos Brothers (Ernesto, Alberto and Luis) use their violins and voices to redefine contemporary Mexican music. Their original compositions masterfully blend elements of jazz, rock, classical and Mexican folk to deliver a powerful message of love, brotherhood and social justice. Artistic Director and guitarist Humberto Flores, drummer Rosa Avila and bassist Leo Sherman complete the line-up.
The Villalobos Brothers were born and raised in Xalapa, Mexico. They spent their childhood learning classical violin from Henryk Szeryng’s disciple Carlos Marrufo and listening to their grandmother Cristina Vásquez sing traditional songs accompanying herself on the guitar and the accordion. In addition to the violin they soon learned to sing and play other instruments, including piano and guitar.
Their work has been recognized by numerous awards, including a proclamation from the City of New York, the Independent Music Awards’ “Vox Populi” award, and were crowned the “Ultimate Winners” in The Greene Space’s Battle of the Boroughs competition. Today, the Villalobos Brothers continue to collaborate with legendary musicians, including Grammy winners Arturo O’Farrill, Antonio Sanchez, Eduardo Magallanes, Dan Zanes and many others.
Calpulli Mexican Dance Company
Calpulli Mexican Dance Company’s mission is to celebrate the rich diversity of Mexican and Mexican-American cultural heritage through dance-based programming including live music. To this end, the organization produces professional performances via its touring company, arts-in-education and cultural enrichment programming, and community outreach activities that are free or low-cost and target the underserved Mexican and Mexican-American community. This includes the company’s years-long relationship with the Count Basie Theatre, where its dance classes are offered to the area’s rich Mexican and Central American population and those interested in learning more about the importance of dance in Mexican culture.