Music in Panama is just as diverse as its residents. From Caribbean beats to good old rock and roll, there’s music for all ears in Panama. What is perhaps most interesting about music in Panama is that it is rarely age specific.
Reggaeton is one of the most popular music genres in Panama. It’s a form of Spanish hip hop or rap set to different beats. Tracks from Daddy Yankee, Calle 13 and Mach and Daddy can be heard blasting out of car speakers and clubs throughout Panama. When a Reggaeton song comes on the radio it’s difficult for even the older Panamanians not to get up and dance.
Panama’s folkloric music is often called tipico. Though probably most popular in the interior provinces of Panama, you can hear this music throughout the country. Accordians and destintive vocal stylings are staples of Panama’s tipico music. Panama’s tipico musicians are national heroes in this country. If you have spent any time in Panama it’s impossible that you haven’t heard of Ulpiano Vergara, Nenito Vargas, Victorio Vergara and of course every one’s favourite siblings, Samy and Sandra Sandoval.
Popular in many Latin countries, salsa is one of the most popular music genres in Panama. Percussion instruments are a key part of salsa music. It is easily one of the catchiest beats and try to stop any Panamanian – young or old – from grabbing a partner and hitting the dance floor, when a salsa song comes on. Ruben Blades (Panama’s Tourism Minister) is one of the most famous salsa artists and has won a number of Grammys.
Panama’s Colombian immigrants brought the musical styling of vallenato with them to Panama. Vallenato is a type of Colombian folk music and can be heard quite often on the radio and in clubs in Panama. Bachata music is Puerto Rican and is also quite popular in Panama.
Jazz music has a large fan base in Panama, illustrated at the incredible jazz festival that takes place in Casco Viejo every year. Legendary Panamanian jazz musicians include Victor Boa, Clarence Martin, Barbara Wilson and Danilo Perez.
Panama also has a vibrant history of calypso and mento music. In the 1960’s there were quite a few Panamanian doo-wop groups put their popularity faded in the late 70’s.
Rock and roll music can be heard throughout the world, and it is no different in Panama. US, European and Spanish language groups are all very popular here. Los Rabanes are one of the most popular Panamanian rock groups and have a Latin Grammy that proves their international popularity.
Because Panama is home to people from around the world, the music is extremely diverse here. Whatever your musical tastes, there are beats and rhythms in Panama to suit just about everyone.
|Written by Rebecca Tyre|
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