This is one of the things I enjoy most of living in Casco Viejo: there is always an interesting cultural event going on. Last sunday it was Drum Fest… a loud but very enjoyable (somehow) event where hearts pumped at the drums of all sorts of musicians. Preparing for Jazz Fest? (remember its from January 21th to 26th) probably! but I´m also glad that drums where taken in consideration seriously enough to have it´s own place. For me, Panamanian drums are one of the best places to look for fusion between cultures. Why? because Panama is a complete blend between spanish, caribbean, african and indigenous… and you can feel it in how we play the drum.
The other day I was thinking about it when I attended a dinner at this place called “Tinajas” which is a famous restaurant in Panama because of it´s traditional dance show with polleras and montunos. This is our best known heritage, from the central part of the country, where the Spanish had their biggest cultural influence. Folkloric music from this area is played with flute, violin (almost extinct now replaced by the cheerful but also loud achordeon), guitar and drums. While the dancing was very “spanish colonial” and the dresses could very well ressemble a court dance, the drums, once left alone … where definatly african. Wild drums, wild rythms, a joyful smile in the drummers… in which faces you could see clearly traces of both spanish and indians. What a world! and all in Panama.
So even if it´s loud, I like drums. And I think it suits Casco Viejo perfectly, since the old town itself blends all sorts of architectural styles, ranging from colonial to republican but not forgetting caribbean and art deco. What a wild place!