the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center,
the Arhoolie Foundation,
and the UCLA Digital Library
Los Alegres de Terán, a vocal duet founded by a pair of humble migrant workers from northern Mexico, stands as one of the most influential, long-lived and commercially successful regional music acts from the last half of the 20th century. The duo of Tomás Ortiz and Eugenio Ábrego are today remembered as the fathers of modern norteño music, the accordion-based country style that traversed borders as fluidly as its immigrant fans.
Founded in 1948 in the town of General Terán, Nuevo Leon, about 130 miles from the border with Texas, Los Alegres became the first norteño act to break out of the genre’s regional boundaries in northern Mexico, gaining wide popularity on both sides of the border, from McAllen to Mexico City. The prolific duo wrote scores of songs and recorded over 100 albums, backing themselves on bajo sexto and accordion, while delivering emotional vocals that blended in a warm, natural unison.
- Agustín Gurza