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The Music of Panama

Music of Panama

Panama is a country known for its multicultural and international ethnicity. There you can find people from all walks of life and countries of the world. Spanish, African, Caribbean, European and American rithms influence the type of music the ethnic groups listen too as they crossover into one another to form very popular music themes. Salsa, Merengue, bachata, Pop, Rock en Español, US hits, tipico folkloric music, reggae, reggaeton, cumbia, vallenato, samba, jazz, and classical music are all widely listened to by the population.

View "El Punto" and professional dancers at the Festival de la camisilla at Chiriqui Mall.



Folkloric music has always been a favorite of the country which has had its roots come back into wide acceptance by all social levels because it is from Panama and the population has experienced a reinnassance in the way of patriotism. Tipico folkloric music is famous for having drums, an accordion, drums and a singer commonly known as "cantalante"(singing in front of the group). You can find this music on radio stations in Panama city and in the central provinces of Coclé, Herrera, Los Santos and Veraguas.

Empollerada show mejorana Guitar

Empollerada shows mejorana guitar.

Panama Tipico dance at Las Tinajas Restaurant

Most Popular Panamanian Tipico  Singers

From left to right Ulpiano Vergara, Dorindo Cárdenas, Osvaldo Ayala y Victorio Vergara Batista(r.i.p.)

Pindín has also since a reinnassance spread by the now most popular
Sammy and Sandra Sandoval. They have mixed in merengue, reggae and a little bachata into pindín to increase the popularity of the genre. Worth mentioning are othe incredibly known singers and players such as 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, just to name a few.

I have an american friend who has been to Panama and he fell in love with pindín. Every week he sends me pindín videos from youtube to my email.


The word típico is different from música típica, in that the former is the general name of the native dance styles of the central provinces.

Conjunto Tipico

Tamborito, is a different type of music that makes up the national dance of the country. It is generally performed by dancers that are the montuno(man) and empollerada(woman) in groups of 6 or more or somethings as a couple. Groups such as Ballet Folklorico de Panama "Petita Escobar", Ritmos y Raices Panameñas Ballet Folklorico, and Ballet Folklórico Panameño de Elisa de Céspedes. Closely related to its more well-known Colombian cousin, Panamanian cumbia, especially amanojá; and atravesao styles, are domestically popular. Another important music is punto and the salon dances like pasillo, danza and contradanza.

Pollera de Panama

Gorgeous Panamanian Pollera

Reina Bonita : Tonada de Calle Arriba de Las Tablas, Carnaval 2010

Ruben Blades - Salsa Legend

Ruben Blades Salsa Legend

Ruben Blades, born July 16, 1948, is notably the most reknown musician that has Panama has ever had. He achieved international stardom, after collaborating with other musicians like Willie Colon, Celia Cruz, Pete el Conde, Santos Colon, Anibal Vasquez, Cheo Feliciano, Juansito Torres, Pete Rodriguez, and Ray Barreto. Ruben was part of the Fania Stars and was also extremely popular during the 1970's, 1980's, 1990's with audiences from Europe, South, Central and North America, Asia and even Africa attending concerts. His hit "Patria" has probably been the song that has touched the nationalism of all panamanians and people of all nationalities. If you wish to visit his website you can go to his site clicking here .

Ruben Blades con Fania All Stars in Colon sings: "La Palabra Adios"

Panama has a long history in jazz: by the 1940s the port city of Colón boasted at least ten local jazz orchestras. Legends of Jazz in Panama included pianist and composer Victor Boa, Bassist Clarence Martin, Singer Barbara Wilson and French Horn player John "Rubberlegs" McKindo. This Jazz legacy was recently reinvigorated when the US-based Panamanian pianist Danilo Perez organized the first Jazz Festival in January 2005.

Watch "Te Quiero" and "Dime si te vas con el" by DJ Flex Winner of Multiple Latin Grammys in 2009.

Panama also boasts a vibrant history of Calypso and Mento music sung by nationally well-known musicians such as Lord Panama, Delicious, Two-Gun Smokey, Lady Trixie, Lord Kitty, and Lord Cobra and the Pana-Afro sounds.

By the 1960s, local doo-wop groups were evolving into what became known as the Combos Nacionales, five to ten musician groups using electric instruments and incorporating the diverse sounds of jazz, calypso, salsa, vallenato, doo wop, soul and funk. Famous Combos Nacionales included the Silvertones, the Exciters, the Fabulous Festivals, the Soul Fantastics, Los Mozambiques, the Goombays, Roberto y su Zafra and Bush y sus Magnificos. By 1970, the dynamic Combos Nacionales sound dominated Panamanian popular music, only winding down toward the late 1970s.

Spanish Reggae performed by rappers is also very popular among youth, and spawned the Spanish language reggae-rap style known as Reggaeton, which originated with such artists as El General, Aldo Ranks and Kafu Banton, before becoming popular in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and eventually amongst youth in the United States.

The most reknown reggaetonero these days is DJ Flex, also known as NIGGA, locally. In 2009 he was the recipient of 8 prizes at the Premios Billboard de la Música Latina 2009,, including Hot Latin Song of the Year (Canción del Año), Ringmaster Latino del Año, and Hot Latin Song of the Year, male artist, beating Enrique Iglesias.

El General Reggae Singer

Famous "El General"

DJFlex Romantic Reggaeton Singer and  2009 Billboard Winner

DJFLEX Romantic Reggaeton Singer




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Last Modified November 10, 2010