Ramon Ayala is an Mexican accordionist and songwriter. Ayala has defined much of modern norteño music with his distinctive accordion playing and lyrics. Though he added electric guitars and drums to his music, it retains a traditional northern ranchera style.
In 1971, however, Cornelio Reyna decided to leave Los Relampagos del Norte and to switch to the mariachi genre. At the time, many music experts felt that Ramón Ayala’s short career was doomed since Cornelio Reyna was the voice of Los Relampagos Del Norte and he was just the accordion player. Surprisingly enough, Cornelio Reyna’s mariachi career was only mediocre at best. He had been much more popular with Los Relampagos Del Norte than he had been as a new solo mariachi singer. Another version is that at this time Ramón Ayala stole Cornelio Reyna’s wife and that is what led to the bands breaking up.
Ramón Ayala set out to prove that he could make it on his own and formed the band Ramón Ayala y sus Bravos Del Norte in late 1971. By early next year, Ramón Ayala had a new vocalist, Antonio Sauceda. Sauceda had a similar singing style and voice tone as Cornelio Reyna, which proved to be perfect for Ramón Ayala. This made a smooth transition for his playing style.
After cementing his name at the top of norteño music charts once again, Ramón Ayala suffered the loss of his lead singer. Sauceda had a renewed interest in Christianity and had decided to join a Christian seminary. The loss of Antonio Sauceda forced Ayala to find another lead singer. The next lead singer he found was Eliseo Robles. Robles was at the time playing in another band called Los Satellites de Fidencio Ayala, Ramón Ayala’s brother. Robles decided to join Ramón Ayala, and together they created a style that became a standard for norteño music. During the Eliseo Robles years, Ramón Ayala y sus Bravos Del Norte’s album sales reached peak high in Mexico and the United States mainly due to their ability to produce hits such as “Un Rinconcito En El Cielo,” “Chaparra De Mi Amor,” “Tragos Amargos.”
Lightning struck again in the mid-80s when Ramón Ayala found himself again without a lead singer. Ego problems from Eliseo Robles are thought to be the main reason for his bizarre departure from the band. Ayala set out to look for another lead singer, his fourth in his career, and found his man in Antonio Coronado. Coronado’s career and future with Ramón Ayala looked like it was going to be as successful as the Eliseo Robles years but he also reportedly had an ego problem and only recorded eight albums before leaving the band in 1992.
The next year, Ramón Ayala celebrated his 30th anniversary of his career with the arrival of his 5th and current lead singer, the friendly Mario Marichalar. With Marichalar’s arrival, Ramón Ayala modified his style once again which is something that hasn’t set too well with his fans. Once mainly known and successful for heart-felt ranchera and cantina-style songs, Ramón Ayala’s new style proved to be too bland and soft as he now tries to appeal to a younger generation that seem to accept him. However, Ayala continues to be a classic musician who is remembered as one of the founders of modern norteño music. Ramón has won many American and Latino Grammy’s along with record sales of approximately 750,000 units per year. Ramón Ayala is also known around the norteño bands as “El Rey del Acordeon” (The accordion king).
In December of 2009, Ramón Ayala and his band Los Bravos del Norte were performing at a party in Tepoztlán, a town near Cuernavaca, Morelos, when Mexican soldiers raided the party, killing three alleged Beltrán-Leyva Cartel members and detaining eleven. Ayala was also detained and held pending charges of various crimes related to narco-trafficking. Arturo Beltrán Leyva, the leader of the Beltrán-Leyva Cartel, was subsequently killed by the Mexican navy in another raid occurring just a week later in Cuernavaca.
* Ramón Ayala y sus Bravos del Norte won the Grammy Award for Best Mexican/Mexican-American Album at the 44th Grammy Awards in 2002 for En Vivo…El Hombre y Su Musica
* Nominated for Latin Greatest Hits Album Of The Year for Antologia De Un Rey by Ramon Ayala y Sus Bravos Del Norteat the 2006 Latin Billboard Music Awards
* Won Best Norteño Album for El Numero Cien and Best Regional Mexican Song for “Del Otro Lado Del Porton” by Ramon Ayala y Sus Bravos Del Norte at the Latin Grammy Awards of 2002
* Nominated for Best Norteño Performance for La Leyenda Continúa… by Cornelio Reyna Jr. with Ramon Ayala y Sus Bravos del Norte at the Latin Grammy Awards of 2000