Courtesy of Maria the Mexican

Growing up in Topeka, Kansas, Maria and Tess Cuevas didn’t live in a Mexican-American neighborhood. So their after-school gigs were a little hard to explain to their friends.

“We’d go home and then suddenly you’d put on your sombrero and go to the car,” Tess Cuevas recalled. “It was so different. Nobody else did anything like that.”

courtesy Maria the Mexican

The band Maria the Mexican describes its sound as Americana soul and Mexicana groove. Sisters Maria and Tess Cuevas got their start in Mariachi Estrella, an all-female mariachi band founded by their grandmother, the late Teresa Cuevas. In 2011, they branched out to form Maria the Mexican, with guitarist Garrett Nordstrom.