Panama is a country located at the very bottom of Central America and shares borders with Costa Rica and Colombia. I am a dual citizen of Panama and the United States. Even though I was born and raised here in the U.S, in our household it was like being in Panama.
What people now know as Reggaeton, actually originated in Panama as Reggae en Espanol, or Spanish Reggae. Panama is a very diverse nation
with African, Native American, and Spanish cultures being represented. West Indian culture has also been blended into the culture of Panama due to the thousands of Jamaicans, Barbadians, Trinidadians and other West Indians that came for jobs picking fruit and the majority coming for jobs building the Panama Canal.
Panamanian Reggae , also known as “Plena” in Panama, was first actually recorded in the 1970’s, but has been around in one form or another in variety of Caribbean music coming out of Panama for more than 100 years. Soca music also has made a great influence of this mix fusion of Panamanian music.
Some of the pioneers include Chicho Man, Renato, El General, and Nando Boom. Here is a classic from Nando Boom, year 1991
Panamanian Spanish is a Caribbean Spanish and also includes influences from Native American languages, African languages, and mixed West Indian Patios from the islanders that have lived in Panama for over a 150 years.
Here’s one of my favorites from El Rookie
There literally is hundreds of Panamanian reggae artists and the DJ’s are amazing, making killer mixes. There is so much content out there for free if you would like to shake your bum bum. Panamanian artists make most their income from concerts so they put out their music for free to promote themselves.
The music is a reflection of the society of Panama, it’s like a mirror reflection. We have Roots reggae, romantic artists, Dancehall reggae, and some real down and gritty gangster reggae, a reflection of some of the tougher neighborhoods in Panama.
Panama is a beautiful country and I highly recommend that you visit it. It’s been called the Miami of Latin America and the Caribbean.
It is an International city and its economy is built around this with banking, and the Panama Canal being so very important to international trade and shipping.
If you’re interested in streaming or downloading free songs and mixes from Panama, here are two great resources. Panamahitradio.net and Plena507.com. These two sites have thousands of songs and mixes to download for free and legal. There’s a lot more than just Panama Reggae. There’s Salsa, Soca, and other Latin and Caribbean music as well.
I hope you enjoy!