The Nimbus series of traditional music deserves the most serious attention.
This CD is the first of Panamanian music to be released in UK and is the
culmination of 40 years enthusiasm by Nigel Gallop, who contributes a fascinating
account of an unusual story, which he has pursued with commendable persistence.
The Azuero Peninsula has remained comparatively isolated until modern times
and the preservation of this music represents a 'time warp', likely to be
lost before long. It is cherished locally but little known outside Panama.
Some of the music is quite extraordinary. The female lead singers have high,
forceful voices. The Saloma is a kind of yodel and the male
Grito is a bizarre musical bark, which groups of men shout alternately
rising to a crescendo. Instruments include the mejorana, a small 5-stringed
guitar, the violin (which is becoming supplanted by the accordion), flutes,
maracas and churuca scraper.
The documentation is immaculate, with full texts and English translations,
biographies of the musicians and photos with their instruments, and descriptions
of each song and dance. All exhilarating, often tender and overall extremely
Peter Grahame Woolf