Reggae roots at “One” Panama – Pureza Natural (live)

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Clarisse (Yellow shirt), Giordano (light blue and white) and me (smiling at the background)Last Night, my cousin Clarisse picked me up around 10 p.m. to go to the Reggae Roots nights at One Panama. I was happy to see her again,a and even happier to hang out with her and her brother Giordano. We got there really early for Panamanian standards, but the roots was skanking and the vibe was filled with positive energy. The night progressed as the Dj kept on “rootsing” and the crowd started to grow by 12 p.m. the place was packed with a variety of people: ghetto people, zonies, foreign (maybe Europeans and Gringos) and some Rastafarian… Bob Marley, Sizzla and Buju Banton amongst others played the sweet reggae melodies, all setting the vibe for the band of the night: Pureza Natural.

In the meanwhile my cousins were paying for the drinks as a nice welcome gesture (thanks for the free booze!), and as a gesture of charity because I am not working at the moment, I am a grad student. I drank some beer, but we ended up drinking Absolut Vodka with cranberry juice…. Yum!

Finally, the first live singer got on stage, he was singing on his own with a dj playing the tracks for him to sing. He was pretty descent (I am sorry to not remember his name). He had a good crowd chorusing his lyrics and his vibe exuded nice positive vibrations (maybe his dread locks helped?).

Pureza Natural

After he was done, the stage was quickly populated with a small crowd of musicians: Chorus girls, bass, guitar, lead singer, special effects, brass players, etc, etc,etc. Finally, Pureza Natural played. I have to admit I was absolutely impressed. The quality of the music was good, but the energy of the lead singer hypnotized the public with lyrics that spoke to the heart of the Panamanian culture and to our “Mundo de Hoy”. I recognized the bass player “Picho” from several other punk rock bands and from a car break down incident that happened long ago in front of el Dorado. Respect!

The tunes were loaded with heavy critiques to the system and to a society that values more how we look than how we think. In an attempt to rescue the values of friendship, love for the earth and humbleness the wind instruments along with the special effects were heard as a nice complement to the good guitar and bass riffs. The drums were dubbing all night and kept the people from freezing on the dance floor. “El que quiera conocer mi país [Panamá], que venga porque se acaba”, thus the lead singer passionately sung criticizing the uncontrolled real estate activity in our beaches and natural reserves (we are literally selling our country), and paraphrasing the “granadino” reporter Rufino Cuervo, who in XIX made public these profound words that resounded in a country that was falling into pieces when the Colombian central Government forgot to pay attention to and to solve the problems of Panama at that time.

People loved and chorused to the music. The jazzy-dubby melodies of “Música de Corazón” and the “acousticity” of “Advertencia” reminisced a noticeable Cultura Profética influence but with an original touch with the “Panamanian Dancehall” vocal inflections. The love for making music is what this band is all about “Cada día se me hace una gran necesidad: Tomar pluma y papel y así expresar lo que tus oidos con sentido puedan escuchar” (among many, many other references to the love for music). It is nice to see how the Panamanian “alternative” (i.e. not mainstream) music scene that was born back in the 90’s punk/ska movement has evolved to produce high-quality reggae roots musicians that refuse to give up. I cannot leave this paragraph without commenting on the cleanliness of the vocals and guitars, and the flawless performance of “Advertencia”. I do not think I have heard sounds like that made by Panamanians before.

The social critiques got remarkably straight forward and carelessly blunt with the upbeat dub in “En este de mundo de hoy”,: (si es que puede llamarse mundo) “donde hay mucho más humo que aire pa respirarse”,”donde hay mucho más sangre derramada que agua pa tomarse”,”Se sigue al hombre que declara la guerra y cobarde al que hace la paz”, “Donde la palabra igualdad pa’l pobre y pa’l rico no se escribe igual“… I was blown away and very proud to see some Panamanian souls that are still aware and thinking.

Latin/Salsa Jazz beats, acoustic tunes and smart lyrics were persistent in the repertoire though never leaving the dub style accompanied by the awesomely-nice special effects and keyboard synthesizers. This band has it all. Undoubtedly, the climax of the night was reached when they played “Quiero ser faya (fire)”. The crowd went insane! All souls were moving and dancing to the beats, singing louder and louder. It is interesting to see how artists react to the audience’s vibe. As Panamanians sometimes we expect to see the artist do it all, and we forget to give them a good feedback so that they perform even better…

Although this is not the “One Panama” performance of “Música de Corazón”, it was a massive live performance at “Festival de la Verdad 2007” in El Salvador (you may disregard the singing from the camera man =P):

Hey Pureza: Keep on entertaining and educating us!

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3 thoughts on “Reggae roots at “One” Panama – Pureza Natural (live)

    Clarisse said:
    2008.06.30 at 18:13

    es picho primo…

    Mr. Drive responded:
    2008.06.30 at 18:16

    Corregido!

    Clarisse said:
    2008.07.03 at 14:42

    ahora si, que termine de leer, me gusto mucho =)

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