What Latin Music is cool for kids to listen to in 2021? It’s a little something called Latin Jazz. What is not cool for kids to listen to? Its Polka. Unless you’re like us iconoclasts at Landfill Rescue Unit. Here at LRU we have recently come across some albums by Norteno greats Ramon Ayala y los Bravos Del Norte and Elisio Robles y Los Barbaros del Norte, pioneers of some of the most dynamic and inventive corridos of all time. In a genre mostly bound to rigid song structure and straightforward marching cadence, Ramon and his band bring flair and punchy riffs, while not deviating from traditional topics of Norteno music like love, guns, betrayal, alcoholism, and heartbreak. Ramon and his band break it down with hip-hop drum beats, Thomas the Tank Engine lurchy intros, and masterful accordion solos by the frontman himself, Ramon. The music is so catchy and sing-songy that you might forget that he is singing about people running from their miserable existence in the clutches of alcohol, or locked up in jail, or mourning lost love, but mostly just lamenting lots and lots and lots and lots of relationships gone bad to the point where it would start to wear on anybody. I love hearing ramon wail “al fin regresaste, gaviota traidoraaaaa!” which means ‘in the end you returned, traitorous vulture,’ which is an absolutely epicly cruel way to refer to somebody. And though Ayala may refer to his women as ugly looking birds, he did manage to develop a remarkable turkey waddle of a neck later in life. Ramon’s career spans well over 100 albums and many incarnations of bands, I as a listener have barely scratched the surface and don’t feel yet credited enough to speak to his influence besides the fact that I really love the way his music sounds. Ramon and his crew are musicians, not gangsters, even though some of their album covers look like this
This fact sets them apart from other singers like Chalino Sanchez and Saul Viera in the 90’s, who actually were gangsters and had definitely killed people and were both tragically murdered. This gives Ramons music a much more lighthearted feel, when Chalino sings about shooting people up, or finding people dead with their entrails blown out on the side of the road it has the weight of truth behind it. Ramon’s music comes off as more of a fantastical happy go lucky drunkards existence, even though it touches on some violent themes from time to time. Theres a little something for everybody and a discography as deep as Robert Pollards, so come buy it on vinyl or cassette.