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Luis Villa is keeping the Romantic Trios Music Flame Alive

LuisVilla-Purple-Red-Coats-ReducedDPIPhotos by Ramón Hernández

Luis Enrique Villaseñor is insuring that the romantic trío music genre does not die with a new compact disc that will reawaken its popularity.

He’s only 48, but as hard as it may seem to believe, the tenor, who is also known as “La Ultima Voz de Los Gran Tríos,” is the last living singer to have sung lead vocals with not only one, but three of the world’s most famous exponents of la música romantic – Los Galantes, Los Tres Ases, Los Tres Reyes and be indirectly tied to Los Panchos. Consequently, he is a historical figure.

“All the original singers from those tríos have all passed on; and with the exception of Los Tres Reyes, those tríos have also disappeared,” Luis said during an interview at the Palenque Grill restaurant on Loop 1604.

The Mexican tríos all begin with Alfredo “El Güero” Gil of Los Hnos. Gil, who with Chucho Navarro and Hernando Avilés, in 1944, formed Los Panchos and also introduced the requinto, his own creation. Trio Los Diamantes was formed in October 1948. The next trío to achieve international fame was Los Tres Ases in 1952, which featured Marco Antonio Muñiz on lead vocals. ( And thanks to the distribution of CBS and RCA Records the popularity of tríos spread worldwide. (

As is the norm, singers come and go and Ovidio Hernández Gómez, who sang lead vocals with Los Panchos from 1971 to 1976, became a part of Los Galantes until his untimely death.

So what kind of musical training did it take for Luis to achieve the unique privilege of becoming the lead vocalist of these three famous tríos?

“In my case, I came from one of those old San Luis Potosi families that had a piano at home and I grew singing boleros by María Grever and Consuelo Velásquez with my four brothers and six sisters.

“I have always considered myself a romantic and very passionate about the music of the golden tríos age of yesterday, a music genre that still lives and will be there forever.”

Thus the reason the tenor, also known as “La Voz Romántica de San Luis Potosi” was chosen was simply for his God given beautiful voice.

Luis started singing professionally at age 20 and in 1989, he was hired as the lead vocalist for Los Galantes, best known for “Novia Mia,” “Enamorada,” “Por Tu Amor” plus other hits and he started recording for Discos Orfeon.

His talent brought him to the attention of Los Tres Ases, one of the best tríos of all times. As their lead singer from 1992 to 1994, he recorded three compact discs – “Mexicano,” “Boleros Inolvidables” and “Homenaje a Agustin Lara.”

The result is that, with them, he appeared on virtually every television program in the Latin Hemisphere, toured all over Mexico, Central America and Colombia plus shared the stage with Carlos Cuevas in Madrid, Spain.

In spite of a secure position with Los Tres Ases, in 1994, at age 39, he decided to form Trío Lusan, his own group and their “Amor Eterno” CD kept his name in the spotlight. In the process, Luis kept on meeting new people, such as Pepe Aguilar, maturing, learning, setting new challenges and two years later, Guadalupe Pineda chose them to record with her as a part of her “Con Los Tríos del Siglo” (“Tríos of the Century”) CD. Along the way, he also recorded “Aqui” with a full orchestra.

As a follow up to this honor, Luis participated in the 6th Annual Festival del Bolero competing against the best tríos of Colombia, but now as the ‘first voice’ of the then “Most Famous Trío in the World,” and the ‘last of the big Mexican tríos, Los Tres Reyes de México.

The Nuevo Laredo, Coahuila based trío initially started out when twin brothers Raúl and Gilberto Puente billed themselves as Los Cuates Puente; and when their brother, Gustavo, joined them in 1951, they became Trío Los Hermanos Puente. (www.tríío.html).

In 1958, Hernando Avilés, one of the original Los Panchos and the Puente brothers united to become Los Tres Reyes. Hence, the second indirect tie between Luis and Los Panchos.

When Luis became the ‘first voice’ of Los Tres Reyes in 1996 is when Gilberto Puente shortens his name to Villa because Villaseñor was too lengthy. Shortly thereafter, they recorded “No Me Queda Más” for Abraham Quintanilla’s Q Productions and through the magic of today’s video technology, Selena appears on stage with them in the miracle that can be seen by going to That recording is also included in the “El Retorno de Los Reyes” album.

In 2002, Luis went solo and moved to Laredo, Texas, where he became the featured act at Taco Palenque followed by Palenque Grill and his repertoire was so fantastic that fans practically forced the restaurant owner into having the Palenque Trío record a special CD titled “Homenaje A Roberto Cantoral.”

Sometime in the mid 2000’s, Luis also found the time to gig and record “Baladas” with Azul Bohemia.



In 2012, Luis was signed by MG Records, which is owned by Manuel Garza; and author/songwriter and well-known attorney Alberto Ramón, in Eagle Pass, Texas, and the first single from that CD is due to hit radio’s airwaves this month.

For this CD, Luis mostly chose tunes made famous by internationally known high-pitch tenors and two original tunes.

“The fact that they have una voz aguda was not the motive for choosing those tunes. We are all light tenors, but more important, they are the interpreters who made the most romantic music during the 1970s and the 1980s. And my idea was for this CD to be ultra-romantic with lyrics that will make you sigh with passion, so people will fall in love with those songs all over again. So the concepts are mine and the musical arrangements are all Manuel’s (Garza).

For “A Escondidas,” Garza came up with an upbeat version of the Camilo Sesto hit and Luis shines on Ricardo Montaner’s “Besame (La Boca)” in a sensuous version guaranteed to leave women panting and sweating with his seductive interpretation.

Luis also beats out Emmanuel’s original versions of “El Dia Que Puedas” and “Con Olor De Hierba,” the latter also covered by a banda version by K-Paz De La Sierra. Luis’ is by far the best recording of these two tunes, so to radio program directors I say, “Don’t even think about it, you know what I mean.” It’s so good you’ll want to hear it over and over again.

Miguel Gallardo wrote and recorded “Hoy Tengo Ganas De Ti” and it was covered by Camilo Sesto and Ricardo Montaner. Therefore Luis made an excellent choice, but who was to know that Alejandro Fernández had the same idea, but as a duet with Cristina Aguilera.

“La Malagueña” has been recorded by over 200 well-known singers all over the globe, but Luis gives listeners chills as he hits and holds those hard-to-hit high notes and sustains them in what is truly a vocal showcase of his voice.

“Llorando Por Dentro” is, as Luis said, is another example of a good romantic song that was pre-recorded by Francisco Cespedes, Jaimé Camil and Cristián Castro; and which Luis revived for ‘his’ fans.

Montaner may have written and sang “Me Va Extránar,” but Luis has made it better than the original as he seduces his female listeners with the romantic delivery of his voice.

“No Soy El Aire” and “Por Que Has Dicho Que Me Amas” have both been covered by countless of singers, but Luis makes them his by pouring his heart out with the accompaniment of a sexy sax arrangement.

In “Que Sera De Ti,” the theme for “El Clon,” a popular telenovela, and a big hit for Roberto Carlos, Luis croons, wails and sings his heart out in what is a jazzy version of this popular tune.

Franco De Vita, who wrote “¿Tu De Que Vas?” might have the name and the fame, but Luis easily outshines the songwriter’s interpretation of his own composition.

Established artists will eat their hearts out when they hear the Ramón penned “Te Lo Debo A Ti,” but it takes more than lyrics to have a hit and Garza came through with a butt-kicking lush arrangement that rivals anyone from North to South America.

The same applies to Garza’s “Tenerte A Ti,” another song that is destined to become a standard. If this writer was forced to describe it in ‘one word,’ it would be ‘beautiful’ because this song is breath-taking and there’s no other tune like it. This is something you would expect from José José or Nelson Ned, but it’s our own Luis Villa.

So don’t be surprised if many of Mexico and the Latin Hemisphere’s best-known vocalists cover these two superb compositions. This is a CD with which Luis Villa could easily wind up doing a world tour and his record company should sell in the millions.

“Therefore we can hardly wait for radio stations to start playing it, for Luis to embark on an intense promotional tour in support of the CD and for the public to buy it on iTunes,” the border town songwriters said in unison.

PalenqueGrill-Montage-2PALENQUE GRILL

Juan Francisco “Pancho” Ochoa, famous for the secret chicken recipe that made El Pollo Loco a huge success in 1975, then selling the chain followed up this venture with the first of numerous Taco Palenque restaurants in 1986. Adding to that successful chain, his follow-up act was the first Palenque Grill in 2005. Next, a year later, came a second location in McAllen with his sons, Juan Francisco Jr. and Carlos “Charles”; and on December 15, 2011, Pancho, his wife, Flérida Inzunza nee, and his daughter Flery opened its Alamo City site in Stone Oak; and Luis moved to San Antonio.

Today, the green-eyed, six-foot-tall vocalist continues to be the featured act at Palenque Grill, but at its North side S.A. location where from Wednesday to Saturday, where he does two one-hour shows between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. He also performs each Sunday from 1-3 p.m.

On weekends, the headliner and lead guitarist is joined by his daughter Lucero Villaseñor, female vocals with his musicians, Óscar G., second voice and contra bajo; and José Luis de La Cruz, third voice and requinto.

However, this is not, as Luis says, “a show since the restaurant’s diners don’t want the music to drown out their conversation, so we have to keep the volume down. That’s all, otherwise, we still sing as thought we were performing for ten thousand people.”

Well known pianist Miguel Nacer fills up the gap between shows and it is not uncommon to see a couple or two get up and dance to his lively tunes.

LuisSerenadesCustomers-2To sum up Luis’ show, his light tenor voice is the attraction, his melodic voice is his instrument,

his incredible voice is the show and his unique voice is the star.

As for the future, he says, “The most important principle behind this CD is for people to enjoy the songs that I have enjoyed all my life and that I can reach every corner of the world.

Corporations, event coordinators and anyone can contract the MG recording artist for private and public events by calling (956) 949-8020, by e-mailing him at [email protected] or through Manuel Garza at (830) 968-3538.

Luis Villa’s CD Discography