Panamanian music shows elements intertwined with those inherited mainly from the Spanish and Africans. It has also been influenced by neighbouring countries such as Cuba and Colombia which have left their seal in immortal pieces such as boleros (Old Panama), pasillos (Panama and Colombia) and dances ( La Reina Roja (the Red Queen), commonly known as Pesca’o).
The most popular composers are, amongst others, Alberto Galimany, Ricardo Fábrega, Máximo Arrate Boza, Vicente Gómez and Víctor Cavalli.
Today there are a number of institutions whose purpose is to disseminate Panamanian music and folklore. Some of those institutions are the National Institute of Culture, a body organizing events including poetry readings, visual arts exhibitions, dance and music band shows, and concerts by the National Symphony Orchestra.
The Music School for Young People is aimed at training the necessary performers who will fill vacancies at the Symphony Orchestra.
Many outstanding figures have arisen over the years as is the case of Roque Cordero, Jaime Ingram, Eduardo Champertier (Jr.), Damian Carles and Priscilla Filos.
Gonzalo Brenes has won a special place for his songs dedicated to childhood and adolescence. And so have Alberto Galimany and Ricardo Fábrega.
The list of song writers could be endless. However, Rubén Blades has forever won an international place with his widely known version of Pedro Navajas.