Tuesday, 30 August 2011 16:41

Cornelio Reyna JrBy RAMIRO BURR
His name was always among the towering legends in the evolution of Tex-Mex and norteno music.

Yet while the name Cornelio Reyna Jr. was often associated with the pioneers of border music, he never quite reached the stratosphere the way his late famous father did.

According to a family spokesman Rafael Montiel, Reyna Jr. died of apparent respiratory failure in a downtown Mexico City hospital on Aug. 6.  He was 50.

Music fans on the fringe

 of Tex-Mex may dismiss the name, not quite understanding how family tradition, musical heritage and regional music came together in one of those unusual circumstances where legends are born.

But true norteno and Tejano aficionados will see the connections that Reyna Jr. has within the Tex-Mex music industry.

Reyna Jr. was a singer/songwriter, following in the footsteps of his legendary father, Cornelio Reyna. The Reyna songwriting heritage, especially when Reyna Sr partnered with another norteno hero, Ramon Ayala in the seminal Los Relampagos del Norte, contributed a ton of hits to the Tejano and conjunto canon.

Almost every Tex-Mex group from Emilio to Little Joe to Xelencia have covered their hits including “Hay Ojitos,” “Un Dia con Otro,” “Mil Noches, “Te Traigo estas Flores,” and “Me Cai de las Nubes.”

According to spokesman Rafael Montiel, Reyna died at 3 a.m. Aug. 6, of apparent respiratory failure in a downtown Mexico City hospital.  He was 50.

Reyna Jr, was very much like the other sons of famous musical fathers from Alejandro Fernandez to Pedro Infante Jr. Reyna Jr. enjoyed an easy entry into the music scene, thanks to the historic accomplishments of his father, who rose in prominence thanks to his prolific songwriting beginning in the 1960s. And while Reyna Jr. worked hard to reach the status of his father, he never quite achieved the same level.

During his heyday, Reyna Sr. , who died on Jan. 22, 1997, teamed up with Ramon Ayala in Los Relampagos Del Norte, scoring a ton of massive hits including “Mil Noches, “Te Traigo estas Flores,” and “Me Cai de las Nubes.”

While popular in Tex-Mex circles, Reyna and Ayala were

massively more popular among norteno music fans. Unlike another norteno legendary group, Los Tigres del Norte, whose music was popular among recent Mexican immigrants, particularly in California, 

Reyna and Ayala easily crossed over into the Tex-Mex market. Though both were from Mexico, they had deep ties to the Rio Grande Valley, and their music became part of the Tex-Mex music heritage.

Earlier this year, Reyna Jr. was working on a tribute album to his father. There was no official word on what would become of that recording project.

His son, Alejandro Reyna said his father had several projects in the works: “Tenía pensado hacerle un homenaje a mi abuelo (Cornelio Reyna), tenía planeado grabar un disco con los Cardenales de Sinaloa, el cual quedó inconcluso,” declaró Alejandro Reyna, 27.Cornelio  Reyna Jr.

Reyna Jr began writing songs while in high school in Mexico. His first hits included  "Señor, señor" and "Descarada."

He left behind his wife, Norma Alicia López. And his other sons César Cornelio, 21; Sebastián Eduardo, 16, and Fernando Romina, 11.

For his songwriting contributions, unique style and family heritage, Reyna Jr. will be remembered as one of the top names central to the progression and advancement of Tex-Mex music.

From El Sol de Cuatla:

"A la edad de 50 años, la mañana de ayer murió Cornelio Reyna Jr, hijo del afamado cantante del mismo nombre, quien estaba próximo a grabar un disco en homenaje precisamente a su padre.

Víctima de un paro respiratorio, Alberto Reyna, su verdadero nombre, dejó de existir a las 3 de la mañana mientras recibía atención médica en un hospital de la Ciudad de México.

Cornelio Reyna Jr siempre trató de seguir los pasos de su padre, logrando grabar varias producciones discográficas, siendo uno de sus éxitos más sonados La Chacha, material que alcanzó la venta de más de 100 mil discos en México.

More at: El Sol de Cuatla

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