Ramón Ayala (born December 8, 1945 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.
Ayala, the son of musician Ramón Cobarrubias, began playing the accordion when he was six years old. Ayala's first band experience was a group called Los Jilgueros de Marin. Later, Ayala joined Los Pavoreales. After moving to Reynosa, a border town in the northern Mexican state of Tamaulipas, Ayala met Cornelio Reyna at El Cadillac cantina and formed Los Relámpagos del Norte. In 1963, the group made a self-titled album that included Ya No Llores.
For the next eight years, Los Relampagos Del Norte continued to extensively play norteño music, a genre that was then considered exclusively cantina music. Ramón Ayala and Cornelio Reyna livened the music and lyrics in order to reach and appeal to more people. The duo recorded a total of 20 albums that produced songs such as "El Disgusto", "Devolución", "Mi Tesoro", "Tengo Miedo," and many others.
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.