Pandemonium Panameño

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

A Fullblown Gugak and Yangak Sonic Attack!

All hands and ears are back at the control board this week.  As South Korea is busy launching rockets into space, we have been given the heroic mission of exploring the many peaks and valleys of the South Korean soundscape..  The old (the Gugak), the new (the Yangak), the psychodilly 70s, the drum n bass music of 1672, , the hiphop, the trot, and nary a K-pop song in the lot (we respect you).  Yes, South Korea, in all its world-friendliness, has grown into the sophisticated polar-opposite of its twin (the Korea we don’t talk about).  But for all the modern dilemmas of open and closed minds, the twin Koreas will always share the same Gugak.  History is something you can’t take back.  Ditto for disco funk.

Alright I admit it, we couldn’t fit any Trot into the program.. but it’s an important piece of the Korean puzzle – the first global style to be adapted by Korean musicians, back when the nation was one.  So here’s some good ol’ Japa-merican inspired Foxtrot for you swingers out there: