Presenting the sonic spectrum of Panama.. a gorgeous pan-African palette that perplexes the pigeon-hole efficiency of predefined taste. A country borne out of the complex cultural mixing between Indigenous peoples, Europeans, and Africans, over two thirds of modern-day Panamanians are of mixed-ancestry (called mestizos).
The monumental construction project of the Panama Canal in the early 20th century brought about further diversity, as many black Caribbean workers settled in the country and brought along their own shifting rhythms (calypso, rumba, etc.). Panama’s music has over time developed a stronger Afro-Caribbean vibe than its other Spanish-speaking neighbors, and there is a real eagerness to combine these with the Latin styles (cumbia, salsa, merengue..) of other Central and South American countries.
Later on, Panama was the first country to create a Spanish offshoot of reggae, known simply as Reggae en Español. One of the first acts to legitimize this sound was Nando Boom:
We will also explore other modern sounds of Panama, including the unclassifiable Combos Nacionales of the 70s, and some intriguing new psych rock bands.
Stream part 1: Global Mix
Stream part 2: Panama