|Leo singing one of his own lyrics, "Huasteco de Corazon"|
|& the afternoon gets going|
|& they play late into the night|
The Huapango is a lively musical style native to the Huasteca - an area of Mexico that includes parts of the states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Veracruz, Hidalgo and San Luis Potosi. These places have recently received more international renown than in the past, because of the violent turf wars between rival drug cartels that leave many casualties in their wake. The daily news reports are full of stories of massacres assasinations, mass graves and other horror.
But despite everything life must go on....and for Leo's birthday some of us have come from as far away as Amsterdam, NL, Upstate New York, and from Mexico, D.F.....but most gathered from nearby towns and ranches, many of them Huapangueros who wanted to celebrate and serenade their compañero on his very special day. Leo de Swaan, born in Chile of a Chilean mother and Dutch father fell in love with the region when he first visited in his teens. Here he planted his roots with his wife Toña, their three children, grand children, great grand children - and the community of Huapango musicians of which he may be the most passionate of them all.