Father and daughter at heart of local Latino music group

Hispanic Heritage Month

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Los Atrevidos Norteños are a Grand Rapids-based music group that has been performing for more than a decade. 

“My heart, this is what I’m feeling in my heart,” says Miguel Angel Divas, the group’s founder, about playing music as he beat his fist over his chest. “I can’t explain that. Love.”

Divas sings and plays guitar in the group. They play all types of events, ranging from funerals to parties. 

“We invite people to dance with us,” said Miguel Angel’s daughter, Sherlyn Divas, who sings and plays the vihuela in the group. “It’s an amazing feeling being able to just transmit your music.”

Miguel Angel Divas picked up his passion for music in his native Guatemala. As a child, he watched his grandfathers play instruments and sing.  

“That’s beautiful seeing the old men do something and feeling like I can do better,” Miguel Angel said. 

He set his sights on learning to play guitar. 

“I can be tired but if I got my guitar by my side, I pick up my guitar and play,” he said. 

He played in groups in his native country. When he moved to the U.S., he wanted to be a part of a group again. 

He formed Los Atrevidos Norteños 14 years ago. In addition to his daughter, the group has two other members. Pepe Milian sings and plays guitarron. Eduardo Rojas Lopez plays the accordion. 

Sherlyn Divas has been in the group for more than half of her life. She recalls being fascinated with her father’s group as a child. 

“The guys would go to house and practice, I’d be there sitting around and watching them,” Sherlyn Divas said. “And then kind of behind his back I’d go touch, grab it and try to do similar things that I saw him do and then started watching videos.”

Her father recognized her interest and ability. He put her skills to test when a former band member couldn’t show up to a gig. 

“He told me, ‘Hey, do you think you could at least cover the spot?'” Sherlyn Divas recalled. “I’m in flip-flops and a dress, like a normal girl living life. So we go to this party and everyone is looking at me like, that’s not who I saw you with last time.”

The gig was a de facto audition. She passed and became an official member at the age of 7. 

“It’s funny how some people who booked us from before are like, ‘Oh my God, I remember when we booked you for so-and-so’s party and you were so small,'” Sheryln Divas said. “‘You could sing but it isn’t as loud as it is now.'”

Her younger brother Melvin also now joins the bands at gigs. He’s learning the family trade and assists playing maracas. 

While she is happy to be in her father’s group, Sheryln Divas has a dream of forming all-female mariachi group. 

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