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Wednesday, Jun 03 2009 | 18:10 Buy this now at GoodToGo (B2B)

5017Soundway Records presents “Panama! 2 – Latin Sounds, Cumbia Tropical & Calypso Funk on the Isthmus, 1967-77” showcasing the unique tropical music created in Panama during the fertile decades of the 1960s and ’70s. This is one of the sure-fire summer soundtracks of the year! As is the case with all Soundway albums, the “Panama! 2” CD is presented with a full-colour 24-page booklet, nuggets of vital information, untold stories behind the music, vintage photos and some very special cover art.

If you think salsa is the sum total of Latin American music, then think again – the hot sound of Panamanian ‘musica tipica’ and calypso español throws everything into the mix for a non-stop journey through afro rhythms, carnival sounds, tipica soul and cumbia madness!

Listen to the heavy tamborito rhythm of Los Silvertones and you’ll hear where the instantly recognizable syncopated beat of modern day reggaeton was born. Check the countryfied re-versioning of Willie Colon’s classic “La Murga” – a perfect repost to those that think latin music begins and ends with Shakira. Listen to “La Escoba” by Alfredo y su Salsa and see that the currently in vogue sound of cumbia owes as much to Panama as it does to Colombia.

Panama is one of the world’s great crossroads – a bridge between North and South America, and home to the great canal that links the Caribbean and the Pacific. The canal itself was built by a huge workforce from all over the Caribbean and South America, each nationality bringing a taste of their own culture and music to make up the hugely diverse nation that exists today. After soaking up the varied influences of Panama’s diverse population, the dancefloors and bars spat out a heady mix that took in the raw vallenato of neighboring Colombia, the soul and funk of America, the calypso of Trinidad and the son and rumba of Cuba, all combined and re-styled in a uniquely Panamanian fashion – making Panama a central spoke in the wheel of Caribbean music. Panama’s lust for the freshest sounds led to it being a testing ground for latin music giant Fania Records, who would send advance copies of albums to Panamanian DJs to road-test and gauge reactions – if the crowds in Panama liked it, the record would surely be a hit in the US too!

“Panama! 2” spans cumbia-funk from The Exciters, beautiful tipica sounds from Papi Brandao, and afro-calypso from the gravel-voiced Lord Cobra, alongside many newly discovered artists whose music has never previously been released outside of Panama. Check out the raw dancefloor sounds of Alfredo Y Su Salsa Montanera and early singles from Camilo Azuquita and Meñique – both of whom would go on to find fame as salsa singers in the States. Covering the broad scope of music from Panama is no easy task, but Soundway has put together a diverse yet cohesive package that celebrates the different rhythms and styles prevalent in the 60s and 70s.

Writer and compiler Roberto Ernesto Gyemant traveled the length and breadth of the country in search of elusive records and reclusive musicians, tracking down hopeful tips and half-remembered names and addresses. Two years of digging through dusty warehouses and old radio stations in search of crackly records and dusty photos led to an exhaustive look at the musical culture of this fascinating country.

“”Panama! 2″ took a long time to compile, maybe 2 years in total. I have visited Panama somewhere around twenty times … Miles (Cleret, Soundway label owner) was sure there was material in Panama – it was his vision”, says – Roberto Ernesto Gyemant. When he isn’t traveling the tropics in search of lost musical treasures, Roberto is based in San Francisco, California. He has been researching Latin American music since 2002, publishing articles in Wax Poetics and Latin Beat magazines. He co-compiled and wrote the linernotes for the Soundway releases “Panama!” (SNDWCD007) and “Colombia! The Golden Age of Discos Fuentes” (SNDWCD008). Roberto is currently working on an English-language history of Latin jazz and dance music, 1930-75.


01. La Murga De Panama – Papi Brandao y Su Conjunto Aires Tableno
02. Tamborito Swing – Los Silvertones
03. Flora – Maximo Rodriguez y Sus Estrellas Panameñas
04. Decidete Mi Amor – Papi Brandao y Sus Ejecutivos
05. Te Toca Tocar La Tumba – Skorpio
06. Descarga Superior – Los Superiores
07. No Llores Porque Me Voy – Idamerica Ruiz con Osvaldo Ayalla y Sus Conjunto
08. Mi Bella Panama – Los Revolucionarios (Soul Revolution)
09. Dreams (edit) – The Duncan Brothers
10. Ain’t No Sunshine – The Soul Fantastics
11. Ese Muerto No Lo Cargo Yo – The Exciters
12. La Confianza – Meñique El Panameño con Bush y Los Magnificos
13. Borombon – Camilo Azuquita
14. Jazzy – Los Papacitos
15. La Escoba – Alfredo y Su Salsa Montañerañera
16. Juck Juck Pt.1 – Sir Jablonsky
17. Love Letters – Lord Cobra y Los Hnos. Duncan
18. Ceferino En Salsa – Ceferino Nieto
19. Si La Vez – Ormelis Cortez con Su Conjunto Viva Guararé
20. Piculina – Chilo Pitty

The compilation VariousPanama! 2” (Soundway) is going to be released June 26, 2009.

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