Los del Azuero

Traditional Music from Panama

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From Nimbus comes this album of folk music from the Azuero peninsula of Panama. While the performers are all citizens of Panama City, they hail from the Azuero region, retaining their musical ties, among other things. There is something of a fusion in the music, between Spanish music and African, with the Panamanian mejorana being played throughout every song, and drumming techniques reminiscent of African styles (or at least African-influenced Caribbean styles). The vocals offer both simple singing as well as a good deal of what is essentially yodeling. Along with the mejorana's constant strum and pick come the ever present loops of recorder work by outstanding player Jose Moreno, as well as a slightly rough violin from Miguel Angel Leguizamo. These three instruments, along with the vocals, provide the melodic structure of every piece on the album. The drumming in the background provides the rhythmic structure, as well as a good deal of musicality in its own right from time to time. This is an outstanding album for a glance at the "mainstream folk" music of the connection point between north and south, east and west. Still, the focus of the album is narrow enough to remain enjoyably coherent. Pick it up as a fan of the genre, or as an interested newcomer.

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