I went to Boquete Panama to attend the Boquete Jazz and Blues Festival. Along the way I visited friends in Bogata Colombia and stayed a few extra days in the National Park system east of Panama City.
Panama is just a few degrees north of the equator, pretty much perfect weather all year round. The people are friendly, the country is clean and safe. I like this place...
The most memorable experience of this trip was sitting in with various professional musicians at the Jazz and Blues Festival. There were organized Pro-Am jams and I was able to sit in with some of the headliners, making Great music for a packed house of interested listeners. Also got to sit in at the Pro Jam with Nighthawks Mark Wenner, vocalist and harmonica player.
Towards the end of this trip I visited an Embera Village in the Charges National Park, east of Panama City, and met a local musician. The guy played a homemade flute and was part of a show, welcoming visitors. The tune was unique and these guys were Tight. Later, I had a chance to interact with the flute guy directly and I tried to let him know how much I enjoyed his performance; However, he was speaking the local Embera language and a few words in Spanish and I knew neither so we were reduced to making our points with hand signals and facial expressions. I wound up giving him my travel harp. Later that day, just before we left, he tracked me down, this time with an interpreter. I did not fair much better because the interpreter only spoke Embera and Spanish. I did get his name, roughly 25 syllables and not something I could retain. He then pulled out his flute and began laying down some American Jazz licks, including snippets from Van Morrison's Moondance, very hot. This was a connection made entirely through the unspoken language of music. Awesome.