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Gabriel Ayala

A member of the Yaqui people of southern Arizona, Gabriel Ayala is at the forefront of a new generation of Native Americans making a career performing classical music.  He began playing the guitar as a child.  He earned a Master's Degree in Music Performance from the University of Arizona in 1997, has taught at all educational levels from elementary through college, and serves as a competition adjudicator. Although Gabriel truly enjoys being a teacher his busy touring schedule allows him to only teach in masterclass settings.

Ayala performs regularly throughout the United States and has appeared at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, National Museum for the American Indian, ASU Kerr Cultural Center and Oscar Meyer Theater in Madison, Wisconsin.  He has been recognized by the former State of Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, now Director of Homeland Security, for his musical achievements. In addition, he has also been honored as the Artist of the Month for the Indigenous Internet Chamber of Commerce (IICOC). Gabriel has also been named Tucson Citizen of the Month and recognized as the leading artist in Tucson for 2009 in “9 to watch in 09”.  Not only is Gabriel recognized locally and in the United States but has had the opportunity to be the featured performer at the “Festival Internacional de la Guitarra Academica” in Venezuela with Performances in Caracas, Guarenas, Guatire and on National Public Television throughout Venezuela.

Gabriel was selected as one of ten musicians featured in “Native Musicians in the Groove” highlighting stories of musicians in their struggles while persevering with a career in music.  He also has been featured in several media publications such as “Native Peoples”, “Indian Country Today”, “SAY Magazine” (Canadian and United States Editions), “Spirit of the Southwest (German Publication)”, “Native America Calling”, “Canadian Broadcasting Corporation” and numerous others.

Ayala has released three self-distributed albums: “Self Titled” in 2003, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” in 2007 and “Tango!” in 2008. He has also been a featured artist on several other CD releases. Gabriel signed with record label Canyon Records to release their first classical CD, “Portraits” on Canyon Records Explorer Series- Classical. The Explorer Series is the new sub label developed by Canyon to be able to feature Native Americans performing music outside of the traditional genre. Gabriel has been breaking stereotypes amongst Native and Non-Native people by performing classical, jazz, flamenco, and new compositions of his own. In 2009, Gabriel was nominated and performed in the Indian Summer Music Awards, Native American Music Awards, Aboriginal People Choice Awards, and the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards. He led the Native American Music Awards (NAMMY’s) with the most nominations and received Best Instrumental CD for “Tango!”. Gabriel received many accolades in this year alone including the honor of sharing the stage with Motown living legends The Four Tops and The Temptations.


As Ayala continues to travel throughout the United States and other countries he serves as an advocate for education for all youth while instilling his values of living a traditional lifestyle while abstaining from Alcohol, Drug and Tobacco. Gabriel believes in leading our children in the right direction through his philosophy, “Honor your elders, love your children, and respect your women”. Gabriel wants to share the gift of music with as many people and show children that they can become whatever they dream. Gabriel currently resides in Tucson, Arizona.



News
Yaqui guitarist's career taking off
Gabriel Ayala - 'Segovia of the Southwest'
SAY Magazine article

Audio

Listen to Gabriel Ayala on the The Wolf and The Bear Show, original air date April 1, 2010
Listen to Gabriel Ayala on the Doug and Vincent Show
Listen to Gabriel's interview on Native America Calling
Robert Doyle interviews Gabriel about his album Portraits

Video

Click here for the Gabriel Ayala video page.