Normally I despise this kind of cultural hubris. But they had a point. You can only listen to the accordion for so long before you want to hack your ears off with a rusty machete.
Good news. These days there are several excellent accordion-free musicians plying their trade in Panama. For example, Panamanian Rocker Cienfue, aka Camilo Navarro, has made the rotation at MTV. He’s also garnered several local awards for his music.
Ok, that may not be saying a whole lot. MTV’s unwatchable, and in Panama they give out awards like pedophiles hand out duros. Still, I think Cienfue’s creating some of the most interesting music coming out of Panama today. And I say this, knowing his fine song “Mi Colombiana” is a condemnation of the sex trade, something I celebrate like a 3 day erection.
Cienfue describes his influences like this:
“Alternative rock laced with Panamanian folklore, shamanism and social lyrical content. In the interior of Panama, an instrument (the Mejoranera) exists that’s integral to our Folklore, a rudimentary 5 string guitar, whose manufacture goes back to colonial times.”
You can hear and see the Mejoranera played on Cienfue’s song “Este Amanecer Hasta Amanecer” below. Good song. But I still prefer the killer guitar on “Macho de Monte Suite, or the great vibe and views of Panama on “Terroristas Tercermundistas.”
If you were extremely lucky you caught Cienfue at the Fiesta de Musica last June over in Casco Antigua. But in case you missed it, I’ve posted a couple of his music videos below.
Este Amanecer Hasta Amanecer