It occurred to me that I have been remiss in delving into the music of Panama in this blog. A shame because I love music so much.
When riding the local buses here there is always music playing, either on the radio or from the driver’s own collection. Much of it, most of it, in fact, is what we gringos would consider typical “Latin” rhythms. There are some drivers who actually play a lot of plain, old, rock and roll from the good old U. S. of A. There are certain musical styles outside the States that are easily identified by gringos. No one needs to tell us what mariachi music is, nor a lot of other typically “Mexican” music, either. We’re all familiar with sambas, rumbas, tangos, meringues, and, of course tangos.
But a genre we’re not familiar with is what is known here as “Musica Tipica.” It’s heavy on accordion and congas. There is almost always a female singer and her contribution reminds me, very much, of Spain’s Flamenco with its slightly nasal quality. I found “Tipica” while “station surfing and fell in love with it almost immediately. Most nights I go to bed with station 107.9 playing and always fall asleep before the timer shuts the music off for the night.
Some famous Panamanian artists in this genre are Ulpiano Vergara, Dorindo Cárdenas, Victorio Vergara, Roberto “Papi” Brandao, Nenito Vargas, Yin Carrizo, Nina Campines, Abdiel Núñez, Manuel de Jesús Abrego, and Samy Y Sandra Sandoval, a brother and sister combo, just to name a few.
Probably the most famous Panamanian singer is Grammy winner Ruben Blades who also served as the country’s Minister of Tourism. I’ve posted one of the many versions of his song “Patria” before. This is NOT a “Tipica” song. I just love it so you’ll have to bear with me. Many consider it to be Panama’s “Second National Anthem.”
Here Jonathan Chavez interprets the same song in “Tipica” mode.
Here’s why Samy y Sandra are so popular