Ayala grew up in Cambridge and has many happy memories of picnics and punting in the city. As well as sharing some of her favourite photos of Cambridge, Ayala also shares her recommendations of where to visit.
Tell us about yourself
I now am based more in London but split my time between Mexico & the UK. I am a recording artist writing songs, recording and performing them (well more of the performing happens in less pandemic times obviously- but hoping that will open up again soon!) and fusing my sound with Mexican / Latino sounds. I love music, I love my job, I love animals, and being in nature (though unfortunately most of what I do ties me to capital cities!).
What are you doing with your time at the moment?
My sound is kind of British jazz-pop-soul but now I'm fusing that with Latin -mainly Mexican traditional music (think along the Buena Vista Social Club lines though more current). This is my latest single: https://onerpm.lnk.to/Ayala which is kind of my anthem of thanks to all the women throughout history to the present day who have fought and paid a price for the freedom and opportunities that I enjoy today. I don't always cover such big topics- I just write about whatever is going on in my heart & life (instagram @musicofayala / Twitter @MusicOfAyala / Facebook.com/MusicOfAyala).
What is your connection to Cambridge?
I grew up in Cambridge! And my family still lives there.
What is your favourite memory of Cambridge?
Summers as a kid, probably punting (we used to take two punts out and make water balloon bombs to throw at each other!) or lying about having picnics on midsummer common- or at Jesus Green outdoor pool that used to be amazing.
Who would you like to share a punt with and why?
Frida Khalo. She's one of the people that inspire me the most through her amazing work - you didn't say if I could choose someone dead or alive.... I suppose if they had to be alive then Quincy Jones. I feel like I could learn a lot from that guy.
What is your favourite place to visit in Cambridge and why?
The Fitzwilliam Museum, combined with coffee or breakfast at Hot Numbers Trumpington Street. But also Fitzbilllies, of course, for the Chelsea buns and sultana scones.
Was there anything you discovered about Cambridge that surprised you?
The thing that has surprised me most about Cambridge is how much its grown since I was a little girl - the whole of the grand arcade that used to be Lions Yard when I was a kid for example, the city centre had way more little local boutiques and coffee shops, I do feel its lost just a smidge of its character with the big chains coming in... though you can't really lose the charm of Cambridge no matter what you do... All the new housing and brand new surrounding villages have surprised me too - like Cambourne and so many that I can't even keep up anymore!
What is the one thing in Cambridge that everyone visiting should do?
Well punting around all the backs of the colleges of course!! Be sure to bring your strawberries and Pimms or champagne!
Why should someone visit Cambridge?
Cambridge kind of spoiled me for the rest of the world! I'm lucky that with my job, I've been able to travel a lot and I love exploring the world- But when you grow up around that depth of culture, history and beauty, as a kid, you kind of expect the rest of the world to look as beautiful! Obviously later I learned that each city and country and place I visited has its own beauty and you find it in different areas- not all Cities are going to be filled with 10th Century almost castle-like buildings at every corner for their university buildings! But really, Cambridge is just so special and never looses its charm for me. I always feel proud bringing friends from around the world there to see it.