Los Humildes

This band was responsible for a movement in musical influence from North to South rather than the other way around, as is the norm in Latin music. The brothers Ayala formed the band with accordion and keyboard player Rudy Flores in California in 1972. The membership spread between the towns of Modesto and Turlock. Jose Luis Ayala, Johnny Ayala, and Alfonso Ayala put all the possible bonded energies of brotherhood into their band, and in collaboration with Flores, a fine musician, they went on to score a series of hits between 1972 and 1988, when the original version of the band broke up. "Ambition" (or "Ambicion") was the prophetic title of the band's first hit on the Tejano scene, a record that also marked the first international smash for the Discos Fanas label as well. The band put out dozens of records on labels such as Phonovisa, RCA, and Thump. In the meantime, what was perceived as the band's original style influenced musicians in the Nueva Leon area of Mexico, where it was adopted as the "Monterey style."

In the late '80s, the brothers and their partner parted ways. Unable to let go of their original name, the musicians gave birth to a cumbersome yet popular and exploitable pair of spin-offs: Los Humildes de los Hermanos Ayala explores the Humildes perspective from the point of view of the siblings, while los Humildes de Rudy Flores presents the disenfranchised accordion player's view on the subject. Shocking as it might be, some of the record labels that released recordings by either group ran out of typesetting material after completing the los Humildes portion of the name, leading to confusion. The first series of albums by the original band were all released on compact discs in the '90s, upping the possibility that a random purchase would actually result in the music of the Flores/Ayala brothers' collaboration.

Both acts continue to tour and record into the 21st century with los Humildes de los Hermanos Ayala being the more prolific of the two. They have issued numerous studio albums and compilations for a variety of labels including Sony, Fonovisia, and Def Jam. Their 2016 album, Javier Solis -- billed to José Luis Ayala & los Humildes Ayala -- pays tribute to boleros and rancheras of the late, influential Mexican singer and actor. ~ Eugene Chadbourne

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