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Album Review

Panama! 2 [coll] – [Soundway Records]

ArtCrimes   7/22/2009   CD, International

Soundway’s second volume of Panamanian tracks, mostly from single releases during the sixties and seventies influenced by Afro-Cuban jazz, Salsa, Cumbia, American ’70s rock, soul and funk (a Santana-like groove on #6, Bill Withers gets covered on #10), folkloric sources, reggae, samba, and whatever other Latin rhythms were in the air at the time. Cuban call-and-response vocals are pretty widespread here but there’s also some Calypso toasting and American soul singing with creamy backup harmonies as well. The accordions are often used as the instrumental lead, taking the lines that might have gone to the brass in Cuban salsa. Electric guitars also take some of the leads here, and sometimes are used similarly to the Chicha combos from Peru, and there’s enough wah-wah to remind you what years are being considered here. (((crimes)))

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