Maya y Cantu -- Jesus Maya (on bajo sexto and vocals) and Timoteo Cantu (on accordion and vocals) -- were probably the first popular duet to play Norteno music along the Texas-Mexico border. They frequently played on Mexican radio station XEDF in the late '40s, where they also recorded discs that were issued on the Texas-based Ideal label. These recordings, now preserved on a compilation of 1946-49 tracks on Arhoolie, were canciones and corridos that emphasized their vocal harmonies, played in the style that has now long been associated with Mexican border ranchera music. Maya y Cantu ended when Jesus Maya tried to bring in his brother Carmel to sing duet vocals, retaining Cantu only as accordionist, which would have meant that the take would have had to have been divided in more ways. Cantu left when he forced Maya to choose between him or Maya's brother. Cantu died in the mid-'50s, after playing with Jesus Villa. The Maya brothers formed Los Hermanos Maya, which continued to play and record through the '70s.
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