Traditional Tamborito of Panama

Themes

The folk music of Panama reflects African, Spanish, indigenous, and North American influences. There are three main street music genres: the cumbia, the tamborito, and the mejorana. The tamborito, heard in this example, is Panama’s national dance. Its call-and-response vocal phrasing and interlocking drum patterns show clear African antecedents. The lyrics tend to be repetitive and, as in West African vocal music, incorporate proverbs and political commentary.