- Get Involved
ORTIZ, TOMÁS (1924–2007). Tomás Ortiz, a member of the música norteño duet Los Alegres de Terán, was born on June 2, 1924, on the San Rafael Ranch near General Terán, Nuevo León, Mexico. Drawn to music as a youngster, Ortiz was playing the bajo sexto and singing in the ranchera style by his teenage years. Partnering with accordionist Eugenio Abrego, Ortiz performed in General Terán. By 1947 Los Alegres de Terán performed on XET Radio in Monterrey. They also began to gain a reputation as musicians in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico.
The duet then came to the attention of Arnaldo Ramírez who had recently founded the Discos Falcon recording label in McAllen, Texas, on the Texas-Mexico border. With their 1953 hit recording of the ranchera “Carta jugada” (“Playing Letter”) for the Falcon label, Ortiz’s career as a member of Los Alegres de Terán was launched. The discovery of the duet by the talent scout Felipe Valdez led the Columbia de Mexico recording company to sign Ortiz and Abrego to a recording contract. This opportunity ultimately brought them international acclaim. With Abrego, Ortiz successfully took the norteño sound to such diverse places as Japan, Iraq, Spain, and Africa. In 1983 the duet Los Alegres de Terán was inducted into the Conjunto Music Hall of Fame.
Listen to this artist
Among the hit albums that Ortiz and Abrego recorded were Los Ojos de Pancha (Pancha’s Eyes) and Más y Más Corridos (More and More Corridos). During a long career, Ortiz issued more than one hundred albums and appeared in several movies as part of Los Alegres de Terán. Other hit songs included “Alma Enamorada” (“A Soul in Love”) and “Entre Copa y Copa” (“Between Cup and Cup”). Despite his great success as a Columbia recording artist, Ortiz continued his association with Falcon Records, writing songs and serving as its artistic director and talent scout. In 2004 Arhoolie Records released the CD Los Alegres De Terán, Grabaciones Originales: 1952–1954, thereby introducing these early superstars of norteño music to new generations of listeners.
Tomás Ortiz died on November 13, 2007, in Edinburg, Texas. A funeral service for him was held on November 16, 2007.
All Music Guide (http://www.allmusic.com), accessed January 25, 2011. Arhoolie Records, “Los Alegres De Terán” (http://www.arhoolie.com/mexican-regional-tejano/los-alegres-de-teran-original-recordings-1952-1954.html?sl=EN), accessed November 8, 2011. Jaime Nicolopulos, Email to Teresa Palomo Acosta, January 19, 2008.
Image Use Disclaimer
All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Teresa Palomo Acosta, "ORTIZ, TOMÁS ," accessed September 15, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/for14.
Uploaded on July 14, 2015. Modified on August 3, 2016. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.