Source: Katelina Ecleston
For Fiona Sanchez and Keisha Sanchez, music has been a constant part of their lives. “We come from a family of musicians on both sides,” Keisha, the oldest sister, said. They fondly recall their childhood holiday shows, where they sang Christmas carols in English and Spanish for their families for hours. Yet despite putting on these jam sessions for their family members and receiving formal singing, music, and dance training, the thought of teaming up to pursue their passion never occurred to them — until the COVID-19 lockdown, that is.
“We’ve always sung together, and we would record covers and stuff, but we never said, ‘Oh, let’s make the group,’ until the pandemic because we were all locked inside and we were like, ‘Well, what do we do now,” Keisha says. So, Musas The idea was born. The New York-based group is not just a product of pandemic boredom, unlike our obsession with banana bread. Taking a cue of the girl groups in the ’90s/early 2000s such as TLC, Xscape SWV and 3LW Musas Are ready to share their eclectic sounds with the masses.
“So at the beginning, we were like, ‘Let’s just make music because we love making music.’ But then it shifted because we’re doing something that’s been done before, so we needed to figure out a way to put our essence and cultural background into it,” Keisha says.
That diverse cultural background led the Colombian-Argentinian sisters to develop a sound that draws inspiration from genres like reggaeton and salsa, as well as a wide range of artists such as Alicia Keys, Nicki Minaj, and Aretha Franklin, to name just a few. Their latest album, “” is an example.Patience“” is an Afrobeat created in collaboration with DJ CrisBoy from Colombia, Young D (Nigeria), and La Lulu, a Colombian violinist. Similar to their debut single “”Destino,” the trio tackled the emerging genre of ritmo exótico with help from one of its pioneers, Luis Eduardo Acústico.
They are quick to answer the question of what genre they would like to include next. “Drill,” Fiona, the resident rapper, said. “Like not a completely drill song, but at some point just switch it up. I think that would be really cool,” She goes on. She also mentioned that she plans to do a reggaeton tune in the future, possibly by working with an up-and-coming artist. Of course, along with up-and-comers like themselves, the sisters also have their list of dream collabs ranging from R&B stars like Alicia Keys from Chloe and Halle to reggaetoneros such as Rauw Alejandro or Bad Bunny, to boundary-pushing musicians like Mabiland or ChocQuibTown.
The group’s willingness and ability to collaborate with other musicians, producers and artists goes far beyond a search for new genres. The girls identify themselves as Afro-Latinas and use collaboration to highlight a culture and people who have made a significant contribution to modern music, but are often overlooked in mainstream discussions.
“[We want to] give the genres and the people who came before us their flowers and celebrate Afro-diasporic beauty. That’s really what it is. It’s in our blood. Those are our roots. And if we can celebrate it, we will. That’s important to us.”
“[We want to] give the genres and the people who came before us their flowers and celebrate Afro-diasporic beauty. That’s really what it is. It’s in our blood. Those are our roots. And if we can celebrate it, we will. That’s important to us,” Keisha says. Afro-Latinas of light skin Musas understand that part of their responsibility to their culture is checking their privilege in order to contribute to and highlight the achievements of their peers in a respectful way — something they felt they achieved with the video shoot for “Destino,” which featured various artists from their dad’s hometown, El Pacífico Colombiano.
“All the dancers in our video, even the choreographer, they’re also from where my dad’s from. So he came up with everything to incorporate our talents but to still keep it original and fresh,” Fiona says. Their enthusiasm to bring attention to the contributions of Afrodiasporic musicians and collaborators is balanced with patience when it comes their own musical journey.
“The more we develop in this industry, I think we’ll find our own spot in it and make a sound for ourselves where people will be able to recognize us.”
“The more we develop in this industry, I think we’ll find our own spot in it and make a sound for ourselves where people will be able to recognize us,” Fiorella says. The sisters understand, however, that recognition can take time, especially if you’re on the right path.
“We’re also a girl group. We’re not solo artists, so it’s a little bit harder as we’re in a place where there are not really a lot of people. But I think we can influence people to pursue it as well,” Fiona says. It is a group effort trying to succeed in an industry dominated solely by solo artists. Musas They also face the same challenges as many other women in the music industry. However, even though there are many challenges for young girls in the music business, Musas They find strength in their numbers and have their sisterly connection to lean on. They’re certain that their vision will pay off.
“There are so many women in the industry who are so talented, and that should be the thing that shines through. But you have the people on top who can make or break you. But I think that when you have a vision and like a set goal, it’s possible to break through and make a name for yourself,” Keisha says.
The sisters continue making music that people love and that represents their culture.