Marisol la Brava & a Flor de Piel – Quinceañera | Natively Contemporary
Marisol la Brava & a Flor de Piel is a music duo made up of Grammy nominee, multi-instrumentalist Renato Ceron and author, teacher, musician and entrepreneur, Marisol Ceron. The mission of a Flor de Piel is to keep the traditional music from Latin America alive and fresh by performing and teaching workshops for all audiences.
Marisol and Renato Ceron have created a beautiful track in Quinceañera, utilising elements of traditional and contemporary forms of music. Quinceañera has these really groovy percussions and drums that keep the whole track flowing in a funky flow. The use of bells adds this really wholesome feeling to the atmosphere. The guitar sounds like it’s come straight out of a classical piece with the Jazz influence. There are a bunch of elements that I probably couldn’t even name, but the avant-garde nature of the instrumental doesn’t sound crowded at all. The mix is really well done and the use of both Spanish and English truly speak to multiple audiences.
A Flor de Piel is a duo that is doing a pretty successful job in keeping their mission and dream alive. By adapting the music that they create to the current trends in music, the duo is able to create an environment that expands musical repertoires outside the mainstream and add nuances.
There are so many things that could be said about a Flor de Piel, and luckily we were able to score an interview with the duo! Read on down below.
What are your thoughts on multiculturalism in art?
Art and culture go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other. Throughout history many cultures around the world have been influenced by others in one way or another. Our music is a perfect example of this. We do not think that traditional music must stay frozen in time. We believe every generation adds their own unique flavor to it. This is what we are doing. We embrace all of the music that makes us feel good and we fuse it together in our music. Our hope is that future generations will continue to value and honor their roots and at the same time know that it is okay to welcome different interpretations.
Can you tell us a little about your progress towards your mission of keeping traditional music from Latin America alive and fresh?
A Flor de Piel has always incorporated traditional Latin American music in our performances be it by playing traditional songs, or by incorporating traditional components into our new composition. We see in our performances that when we play more traditional-sounding music, usually the older generations appreciate it more at first, but when we take a song like say “La Bamba” and our youngest band member begins to freestyle to it, all of a sudden the younger people in the audience perk up and we can see that they start getting into the rhythm and this is exactly the progress that we want to see. We want the younger audience members to be excited about traditional music so that they later can pass it on to the next generation.
Is your incorporation of English in your music purely to establish a wider audience or is there any other reason behind it?
We sing in Spanish and in English because we are bilingual. However, we also sing in a third language which is Spanglish. Incorporating Spanglish into our music is purposeful. Many Mexican-Americans have found that speaking Spanglish is frowned upon and are expected to speak Spanish and English perfectly. We are trying to de-stigmatize Spanglish and embrace the beauty of the combination of languages, which is another language. It is another example of fusing two cultures and languages together to create a new one.
What are some setbacks you’ve faced in spreading your mission goals?
When it comes to singing in Spanglish and fusing musical styles, some people in the music industry have expressed their disapproval of this practice. This could be seen as a setback, however, we choose to see it as an opportunity to be more tolerant of other people’s opinions. We understand not everyone likes the same music and we are bound to encounter people with different musical tastes. Nevertheless, we will continue making music that makes us feel good because we have also received many more positive comments from people in the music industry and the general audience and usually people say that they identify with our experience and they see themselves reflected in our music.
Do you find more people becoming familiarized with traditional music from Latin America?
We have noticed that more and more people that do not come from a Latin American background are more familiar with the Latinx culture, including celebrations like the Day of The Dead (thank you Disney!) as well as the music that goes with it. We are truly grateful that movies like Coco and others have exposed many people to our culture and when people sometimes ask us if we can play music from the movie Coco we say, why not? After all, part of our mission is to introduce more people to Latinx music and culture.
Considering you’ve been making music for roughly 14 years as a group, how would you reflect on the journey you’ve had so far?
A Flor de Piel’s musical journey has been metamorphic. When we started the band we played a lot of traditional music and as the years went by we started experimenting with different sounds and each time we feel we reinvented ourselves. Not to mention all of the great musicians, producers and other music professionals we have had the opportunity of working with which has also been a great honor and a learning experience for us. During the first years of A Flor de Piel’s existence, it was only Marisol and I (Renato) deciding what we wanted to play and sound like. Today, we have the privilege of having our daughter join us in this process which has allowed us to keep a fresh perspective on music-making.