Caribbean Carnival in the city Feb. 18 & 19
West Indian Carnival party moves to ATLAPA
The Society of Friends of the West Indian Museum of Panama (SAMAAP) has been celebrating its own distinct Carnival for the last 31 years. This coming Saturday and Sunday, February 18 and 19, the festivities are moving to ATLAPA Convention Center for the Gran West Indian Fair from noon to 8:00 p.m. Entrance is just $5 for adults and $2 for kids and door prizes include a round trip ticket to Jamaica to be raffled off by Copa Airlines.
This Carnival celebration has a lot of cultural offerings to be enjoyed: gastronomy, folklore and top performers from the West Indian culture.
Kids can enjoy clowns, face painting and other day activities. There will also be presentations of the queens and princesses of the Carnival.
Boquete Jazz & Blues Festival
World-class jazz and blues on the slopes of Volcán Barú
Hans Lebuser & Antonio Singh.
Summer season in sunny, breezy Boquete is almost too good to be true. So good that a touch of the blues was necessary to settle into the dry “verano” weather with the Boquete Jazz & Blues Festival from Thursday, March 1 to Sunday, March 4.
Boquete Jazz Festival founder Antonio Singh changed the name of his event to add blues music into the mix, thus creating the first jazz and blues festival in Panama. Since 2007, Singh’s efforts have given the destination town a world-class event which is awaited by many. The festival known for featuring top international talents is now the biggest musical event in the area.
All about the Blues
Blues, the father of jazz, is both a musical form and genre. It originated in African American from the Deep South at the end of the 19th century by combining spiritual music with work songs, field hollers and chants to create simple, often narrative ballads.
The blues form, ubiquitous in jazz, R&B and rock, is characterized by specific chord progressions. Early blues verses probably often consisted of a single line repeated four times; it was only in the first decades of the 20th century that the most common current structure became standard: the so-called AAB pattern, consisting of a line sung over the four first bars, its repetition over the next four, and then a longer concluding line over the last bars.
So lovers of all kinds of music will be able to enjoy this catchy genre of music whose basic characteristics are still topping the music charts today.
The “devil” in the meaning of blues
The term “the blues” refers to the “blue devils”, a term meaning melancholy and sadness dating back to the 1700’s. The first time a recording was officially registered as “blues” was in the year 1912.
The festival in Panama showcases first-class international blues acts in addition to notable Panamanian and Latin American artistes to round out the four days of music in the sun and under the stars with jazz and an array of Latin American genres. Singh reports that he has set out to put Panama on the map for blues for the first time.
The musician lineup includes top talent from Panama, the US and Europe. Blues talents are: Mitch Woods (US), Johnny Sansone (US), Award-winning Andy Egert (Switzerland) and Bob Stroger (US), Ron Hacker (US). Jazz performers include the Carlos Ubarte Quartet with Idania Dowman (Panama), Saskia Laroo (Netherlands) with Jazzkia, The Smoking Time Jazz Club (US), Betty Bryant (US) and the Rigoberto Coba Big Band (Panama)
The festival is a shining star in the growing arts scene in this picturesque town that has come alive with more theatre (often in English), art expos, a vibrant music scene and cultural events than ever before. These activities and events add to the traditional nature-oriented offer of the destination.
Boquete is known as “the valley of eternal spring” and is located in Panama’s westernmost province of Chiriquí. Its lodging offer includes lovely options for all budgets at hotels that capture the rustic and remote essence that makes this tropical highland valley so incredible.
The outdoors, whether enjoyed from the terrace of a restaurant or through taking part in a daring adventure tourism activity, are what Boquete is really all about. So naturally the majority of the festival will be held at the open-air amphitheater of the Valle Escondidio golf community and hotel.
The festival program (subject to change)
Thursday, March 1 from 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.:
“Boquete goes New Orleans!” with a New Orleans-style street parade (costumes, umbrellas, beads and all) in the streets of Boquete with the Smoking Time Jazz Club direct from New Orleans, followed by a garden party at the Panamonte Hotel where guests will enjoy “hurricane” cocktails and New Orleans style finger food.
Thursday, March from 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.:
Special concert with grand lady of jazz Betty Bryant from Los Angeles, and friends at the Boquete Community Players (BCP) event center.
Friday March 2 from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.:
Free concert in Boquete’s central park.
Saturday and Sunday, March 3 and 4 from 12:00 p.m – 7:00 p.m.:
Open air festival (come rain or come shine!) in the beautiful amphitheater at Valle Escondido (doors open at 11:00 a.m.)
After parties at local restaurants and hotels in Boquete.
*See the full program (and any last-minute changes) at www.boquetejazzandbluesfestival.com/program.html
Music education mission
The Boquete Jazz&Blues Festival Foundation is a non-commercial, all-volunteer, not-for-profit organization run by an all-volunteer staff dedicated to enhancing cultural life in our community. To support musical education at schools in the Boquete, 30% of the festival proceeds will be used to buy musical instruments and improve musical education in schools. Remaining funds will be saved for future festivals.
Tickets available online
Festival tickets can be booked online through the websiteor in Boquete at Mailboxes ETC as well as at the weekly Tuesday market and at the Valle Escondido Hotel.
Ticket prices for the open air days on March 3 and 4, 2012 are as follows: One day ticket; $20 adult, $5 for students and minors. Two day festival pass: $30 adults, $7.50 students and minors.
Script adaption adds Latino twist
'A Raisin in the Sun' takes stage at the Guild
Standing: Director Carlos Williams; Steven Barnett as "Lindner"; Aquilino Arias as "George"; Arturo Montenegro as "Carlos"; producer Gale Cellucci.
Seated: Alejandro Fábrega as "Carlitos"; Diana Luz Parada as "Mama"; Nairobys Rojas as "Belinda"; Odetter Versaille as "Ruth"; Andre Calixto as "Bobo."
The next play set to delight English-language audiences at Panama's longstanding former Canal Zone playhouse is an adapted version of the Tony-award winning favorite "A Raisin in the Sun" by Lorraine Hansberry. The title comes from the poem "Harlem," also known as "A Dream Deferred."
This is the play that catapulted the career of Bahamian-American actor, director and diplomat Sidney Poitier. It won a whopping four Tony awards in 1959. The original script was adapted for this Panamanian presentation to tell the story of a Latino family living on the South Side of Chicago in the early 1960’s. Not being a well-to-do family, they struggle to survive economically and to overcome the bigotry against minorities that prevailed at the time. The audience will see their dreams, hopes and expectations that will change their individual and collective lives.
The play is adapted and directed by Carlos Williams and produced by Gale Cellucci and showing February 16, 17, 18 and 23, 24, 25, 2012 at 8:00 P.M. The Theatre Guild is located beside the DIJ in Ancón. Tickets cost a $15 donation. Reservations can be made writingand a map to the historic old playhouse can be found at .
Improv8 is back!
English-language improv troupe returns for the 2012 season, seeking new talent
An Improv8 performance at the Theatre Guild of Ancon.
Panama's now-famous English speaking improvisation troupe, Improv8, is returning for its 4th season. After a year-long break from the stage, Improv8 has announced that it will soon be treading the historical boards of the charming Theatre Guild of Ancon once again, and promises to bring "a bag full of new tricks and frills."
Improv8 is an eight-person improvisation troupe, which was born at the Guild in 2008. Each year they have created a 2-hour show full of spontaneous scenes, comical games and challenging tasks, offering plenty of laughter and entertainment for six nights of performances.
Those familiar with the show have memories of excitedly scribbling down "scene suggestions" for the second half of the show, all in hope that theirs will be picked for the performance and will win a prize.
Improv8 organizers cite "the wonderful strength of the Theatre Guild team and the talented cast of improvisers" for its success, but most importantly the continued loyalty of its' audiences.
This year there will be seven nights of Improv8 on March 22, 23, 24, 30, 31 and April 6 and 7. More details will be announced at: www.improv8.com
Improv for beginners
A four-night course will taken place the end of January for those wishing to gain a good sense of what improvisation really is about. Participants will automatically be welcomed to join the auditions for the 2012 show. A handful of spots remains.
Course dates are: Tuesday, January 31; Thursday, February 2; Tuesday, February 7; and Thursday, February 9. Course cost is $50. Reserve a spot by contacting Danielle Miles at: firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 6775-0728.
Improv8 is seeking new faces. Invitation-only auditions will be held on Wednesday, February 15, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Teatro en Circulo. To apply email details and a brief history of relevant theatre experience to email@example.com.
Bocas del Toro Party
Casa Animal in Carnavales
By Jacob Ehrler
Casa Animal is gearing up for Carnavales. When the New York Times described the "raucous nightlife" in Bocas del Toro upon naming Panama #1 among 50 destinations to visit last month, it's because they had been tipped off about one of the many legendary Casa Animal parties at 9 Degrees on Isla Colón.
Located above the Caribbean Sea in a magnificent two-story structure,it's fully equipped with a light-up dance floor, a powerful sound system, massive bars and outdoor decks to Bocas Town and the Caribbean. Or chill out tucked below the madness, enjoying cool ocean breezes and bottle service in a posh VIP lounge. Casa Animal events parlay elite staff, an electrifying MC, and the top DJ's from Panama.
Already a proven force to be reckoned with, this season’s party series began red-hot with Tom Sawyer headlining the Fiestas Patrias Event. Then Año Nuevo raised the bar with the most dynamic, exhilarating vibe Panama had ever seen. The momentum continues into Carnival and then Semana Santa in early April.
Promoters tout an: "unparalleled party experience" on Feburary 17, 18, and 19 with performance and visual artists, world class DJs, and "the sexiest people in Panama." VIP and general admission, are available at www.panamatickets.com or at Mondo Taitu in BDT directly before the event. Visit fiestacasaanimal.com. Casa Animal is located above Nine Degrees Restaurant in Bocas Town, Bocas del Toro.
Third annual Americas Society City Conference features top executives and government leaders on Panama's economy
For the third consecutive year Panama is hosting a Latin American Cities Conference. The Americas Society/Council of the Americas (AS/COA), together with the World Bank, the Panama Tourism Authority (ATP),the Government of Panama and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce (CCIAP), are organizing this conference to provide an in-depth analysis of the challenges and opportunities for investing and development in Panama. It will take place at the Marriott Hotel on Friday, March 2 from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Attendance is free and prior registration is required. In years past, the event has filled to capacity. Reserve a spot at this IP address:.
Conference speakers include:
- Ricardo Martinelli, President of Panama
- Demetrio Papadimitriu, Minister of the Presidency
- Roberto Henriquez, Minister of Foreign Relations
- Frank de Lima, Minister of Finance and Economy
- Salomon Shamah, Director, Panama’s Tourism Authority
- Felipe Jaramillo, Central America Director, The World Bank
- Augusto de la Torre, Chief Economist for Latin America, The World Bank
- Pedro Heilbron, CEO, Copa Holdings S.A.
- Roberto Sifón Arevalo, Director, Latin America Sovereign Ratings Group,Standard & Poors
- Ragnhild Melzi, Senior Director, Public Policy Programs, Americas Society/Council of the Americas (Moderator)
- Susan Segal, President and CEO, Americas Society/ Council of the Americas (Opening Remarks)
Speakers include internationally recognized senior business executives, government officials, economists and investment analysts. The conference will focused on the country’s economic prospects, the growth and opportunities of the financial services sector, the country’s trade agenda and the tourism sector.
The communication to promote the event states: “Panama continues to be one of the fastest growing economies of the world. For the past 2 years, the country has grown at an average of 8 percent, and this year it is expected to perform strongly, underpinned by the ongoing expansion of the Canal and other large infrastructure projects. At 4.5 percent, Panama has the lowest unemployment rate of the region, and in 2010 it became the largest recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI) per capita in Latin America. The recently approved FTA with the United States, Panama’s main trading partner, will enhance the already robust trade portfolio and will likely attract more FDI, particularly in the services industry.”
Academy Award winning singer-songwriter Jorge Drexler
Thursday, March 1
Singer-songwiter Jorge Drexler of Uruguay will give his first-ever performance in Panama at the City of Knowledge Ateneo concert hall. The most-awaited of his beloved songs is the recent hit “Mundo Abisal.” In 2004 Drexler won wide acclaim after becoming the first Uruguayan ever to win an Academy Award for composing the song “Al Otro Lado del Río” from the movie “The Motorcycle Diaries.” The 90-minute concert will begin at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are on sale at the offices of The City of Knowledge, building 104 (317-0111) or at the bar/cultural center El Apartamento/El Sótano ((Ave. Federico Boyd/ 6617-3038). $35 pre-sale or $40 on the day of the event.
Friday, March 2
The 2011 Grammy-nominated Argentine guitarist Luis Salinas blends traditional South American musical forms with improvisational modern jazz. He will present his unique blend of bossa nova, Brazilian samba, Afro-Uruguayan “candombe,” salsa and jazz at the Ateneo concert hall at the City of Knowledge. Tickets are on sale for $20, $30 and $50 ator at Blockbuster. The concert is part of World Music Panama 2012.
The Mexican singer has spent 25 years thrilling the hearts of women around the world with romantic songs from genres as diverse as ranchera, pop or bolero. His latest album bears his own name, but Luis Miguel also interprets the songs of other composers. Location: Figali Convention Center. Tickets and prices: unknown yet. Organizer:
Dj Avicii at The Riu
Wednesday, March 7
Swedish Dj Avicii, part of the Ministry of Sound label ranked number six in DJ Mag’s top 100 DJs for 2011, which could perhaps justify the $110, VIP-only entrance price to this event at the Hotel Riu. Tickets are available at Audiofoto and at.
Panama’s fairs and festivals are colorful and lively. Country-folk are friendly and welcoming so they are excellent venues for visitors to get a taste of the ‘real’ Panama. See the schedule which follows.
February 17 to 21/ 17 a 21 de febrero: Las Tablas Carnival, in Los Santos(the biggest carnival event in the all country)/ Carnaval de Las Tablas en Los Santos (el mayor evento carnavalero del país).
March 1 to 4 / 1 al 4 de marzo: El Colmón Fair in Macaracas/Feria el Colmón en Macaracas.
March 3 to 6 / 3 al 6 de marzo: Devils and “congos” in Chepigana festival, Darién/ Festival de Diablos y Congos Chepigana, en Darién.
March 10 to 13 / 10 al 13 de marzo: Santa Fé Fair in Darién/ Feria de Santa Fé en Darién.
March 15 to 18 / 15 al 18 de marzo: Valle de Tonosí Fair, Los Santos/ Feria del Valle de Tonosí, Los Santos.
March 15 to 19 / 15 al 19 de marzo: La Chitra Festival in Calobre, Veraguas/ Festival de La Chitra en Calobre, Veraguas.
March 15 to19 / 15 al 19 de marzo: Tolé Fair in Chiriquí/ Feria de Tolé en Chiriquí.
March 15 to 25 / 15 al 25 de marzo: San José International Fair in David, Chiriquí/ Feria Internacional de San José in David, Chiriquí.
Every city, village and region in Panama has its own annual religious celebration dedicated to a patron saint. These festivals provide a colorful and charming way to experience local traditions and beliefs.
February 24 to 26 / 24 al 26 de febrero: Jesús de Nazareno Festivities in Atalaya, Veragua/ Patronales Jesús de Nazareno en Atalaya, Veraguas.
Sunday, March 18 / Domingo 18 de marzo: San Felipe Festivities in Portobelo, Colón/ Patronales de San Felipe en Portobelo, Colón.