Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

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Len Mullenger:

Los de Azuero (Traditional music from Panama)   NIMBUS NI 5579 71.49 mins
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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 moving.


Peter Grahame Woolf


Peter Grahame Woolf

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