by José Luis Ovalle

en Español⇒

The Northeastern state of Tamaulipas is one of the most prosperous states in Mexico. Its original name "Tamaholipa" has become a controversy among the experts. Some say it means "Place of prayer", while others believe it means "Place of high mountains". Facing the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico to the East, and bordering Texas to the North, Veracruz and San Luis Potosí to the South, and Nuevo León to the West, Tamaulipas is the cross road between Northeastern and Central Mexico.

In colonial times, the state was part of the Spanish province of Nueva Santander, which included Southeastern Texas. Tamaulipas boasts a poweful economy based on oil, cattle, agriculture an tourism.

The Border Region

Aside from their obvious impact between Mexico and Texas, Matamoros, Reynosa and Nuevo Laredo are very popular frontier towns because all three are close to Monterrey (The industrial capital of Mexico) and offer a straight journey to Mexico City and Veracruz as well as immediate entry into the U.S. El Norte, as this region is referred to is also the home of polkas and other European rhythms brought into Mexico in the mid 1800's.

The Central Region

This area is shaped by the spectacular Sierra Madre Oriental, abundant in natual resources and also the home of Ciudad Victoria, the state capital. The abundant resources are a reason for celebration, and it is reflected in the typical dance of the region, called "Picota". Jumps, leaps, turns, hops and constant choreographical motion characterize this rhythm, which is believed to be a distant relative of Scottish folk dancing (brought into Mexico at the same time as the Polka). The music is provided by a drum and a clarinet.."Pito y Tambora".

The Huasteca Region

Central to Southern Tamaulipas is known La Huasteca (Nahuatl: Land of gourds). It is a region of sub-tropical weather that encompasses parts of seven states and is localted near the Gulf of Mexico. Tampico, Cd. Mante, and Tula are the most popular cities of la huasteca Tamaulipeca. The liveliest Huapangos (Nahuatl: Dancing on a platform) come from this region.

The Huapango is a culture onto itself. It evolved from Spanish music interpreted and altered by the natives. Its closest relatives: Seguidillas and Fandangos are the two saddest forms of flamenco. However, la Huasteca is also a land of abundance (Including vast oil deposits), so the langorous "Cante Moro" or "Sorrowful singing" that accompanies Spanish music is transformed into a falsetto of joyous celebration.

The dancers wear their best chamois leather galas of local manufacture and the fiddler improvises musical passages and verses in a fast, light-paced melody. The Huapango is one perfect example of Mexican "Mestizo" (Mixed origin) culture.

© Copyright José Luis Ovalle, 2007 - 2017. All Rights Reserved. Derechos reservados.

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