Mexican Music: Tierra Caliente

In southwestern Mexico, two neighboring regions share the same name: Tierra Caliente, the Hotlands.

On the banks of the Rio Balsas where the states of Michoacan and Guerrero meet, one can hear stunningly beautiful Calentana music played on violins, guitars and tamboritas. A little further west, in the Tepalcatepec region of Michoacán near Jalisco and Colima, the harp is the star of wild and exciting Arpa Grande music.

The roots of these musical styles are shrouded in mystery, but we know that as far back as the 1860's people were dancing to this music in towns like Corral Falso and Tlapehuala in the Balsas River Basin as well as in Apatzingan and Nueva Italia in the Tecapaltepec region.

While still a presence, Calentana music has been largely suplanted by more contemporary styles and many of its greatest performers are in the final years or their lives or are no longer with us.

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