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Tuesday, Nov 03 2009 | 19:48 Buy this now at GoodToGo (B2B)

6694“Panama! 3” is the latest edition of the much lauded and heavily championed “Panama!” compilation sreies and continues to explore the extraordinary dimensions of Panamanian music during the 1960s and 70s. Set for release in November 2009, “Panama! 3” digs that little bit deeper into the cross-cultural soul of the Isthmus with track selections from Will Holland aka Quantic alongside “Panama!” series compilers Roberto Gyemant aka Beto and Miles Cleret (founder of Soundway Records).

Akin to the previous volumes, “Panama! 3” documents some of the groups referred to as the ‘Combos Nacionales’ such as Los Silvertones, Ralph Weeks (The Exciters) and Los Mozambiques. The ‘Combos Nacionales’ were groups that emerged in the ’60s influenced by the black power period in the US while fusing jazz, calypso, salsa, cumbia, doo-wop, soul and funk in different measures.

However, it is the focus on Panamanian calypso that sets this album apart from its predecessors. A product of the Afro-Antillean immigration from countries like Jamaica and Trinidad, Panama’s calypsos can be separated into two camps: joyous songs about good times, parties and sexual prowess, and the more melancholic, mysterious and sombre laments on tragedy and lost love.

The album opens with Lord Panama’s “Fire Down Below”, a record with 1950s sound quality but absolutely dripping in charisma. The dominant figure among a group of brilliant Calypsonians was Lord Cobra, who features on two tracks including the clever “Partido Calypsonian” that announces the founding of the calypso political party, and ends up placing the Mighty Sparrow as the governor of Trinidad!

The “Panama!” story 2001 – 2009

One of Soundway’s beliefs is that if you find some hot country-specific records then there are bound to be more. In 2001, when Miles Cleret first listened to a record of The Exciters he received through eBay, he immediately got the wheels in motion. Deliberating with compiler and friend Roberto Gyemant (Beto), who lived in Costa Rica and was regularly in Panama, Miles set about putting together the lost pieces of a tropical jigsaw puzzle. Beto has visited Panama over twenty times in the past eight years, scouring radio station back rooms, dusty record shops and visiting musicians and historians. He is probably the most well-versed foreigner in the music and history of the ‘Combos Nacionales’. In 2007 an old friend of Miles Cleret – Will Holland aka Quantic – relocated to Colombia and since made many trips to neighbouring Panama collecting records whilst recording for his latest album.

“Panama! 3” has purposefully focused on the unique calypsonian influences on the Isthmus, from the theatrical embellishments of Frederick Clarke’s “Chomba Pa La Tienda” to the somber calypso of Lord Cobra’s “Colon Colon”. It is to Lord Cobra that this compilation is dedicated.

For a fascinating insight into the “Panama!” series, its conception and journey over 8 years there is a separate document written by label owner Miles Cleret that is available upon request. The CD liner notes are also available upon request.


01. Lord Panama and The Stickers – Fire Down Below
02. Orquesta de Armando Boza con Manito Johnson – Samba Calypso
03. Papi Brandao y Sus Ejecutivos – Bilongo
04. Ceferino Nieto – El Pajaro Zum Zum
05. Little Francisco Greaves – Moving-Grooving
06. Los Silvertones – Up Tight
07. Orquesta Los Embajadores con Camilo Azuquita – Shingalin en Panama
08. Soul Apollo with Fredrick Clarke – Chombo Pa’ La Tienda
09. Amalia Delgado con El Conjunto Inspiracion Santena – Carretera Al Canajagua
10. Yin Carrizo – 20 de Enero en Ocu
11. Maximo Rodriguez y Las Estrellas Panamenas – Chevere Que Chevere
12. Ralph Weeks With The Telecasters – Gua Jazz
13. Panaswing – Me Lo Dijo Una Gitana
14. Beby Castor con Los Juveniles – Lloraras
15. Los Mozambiques – Llegamos Ya
16. Los Salvajes del Ritmo – St. John’s Guaguanco
17. Lord Cobra – Colón Colón
18. Conjunto Panama – Trigueñito y Solo
19. Black Czar – Bamboo Dance
20. Lord Cobra and His Sugar Tone Band – Partido Calpysonian
21. Sir Valentino con Combo Esclavos Alegres – Masters Are Gone
22. Los Invasores – El Raton
23. Los Silvertones – Carmen

The compilation VariousPanama! 3” (Soundway Records) is going to be released November 20, 2009.

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