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The Boquete Jazz Festival 2008

The highlands of Chiriqui is gradually becoming famous for its naturally beauty, the world class gourmet coffee, the wonderful variety of its biological wealth, and recently for its efforts to promote the arts and culture. In 2007, the first Boquete Jazz Festival was celebrated.

Boquete, Chiriqui's pride, attracts artists from all over the world. It is currently home to at least 400 expats who brought with them them their very different cultural backgrounds. But they do have something in common – the love for music. Music is sound that's pleasing to the auditory senses and if jazz isn't pleasing to the ears, nothing is!

The second Boquete Jazz Festival was held last February 2008 from the 15th to the 17th. The performers who graced the 2008 Boquete Jazz Festival included:

Bamboo Sax – this band was founded in 1995 as result of the efforts of renowned director, composer and instrumentalist Domingo Muñoz. Their music is a collective of the influences of Afro Caribbean, flamenco and jazz. The band is composed of Eliecer Barsallo playing the guitar, Luis Pedro Quintero also playing the guitar, Fernando del Rio playing bass and Domingo Muñoz on percussions.

Big Band de la UNACHI a group composed of young talented academics interested in rescuing Caribbean music as it is: the bolero, cha-cha-cha, son, cumbia, with a style mixing blues and traditional jazz. The band was founded in 2005 thanks to the initiative of musical director Professor E. Ovid Castillo. They have performed in countries outside of Panama like Costa Rica and Nicaragua. This group is attached to the Directorate of Extension of the Autonomous University of Chiriqui.

Carlos Campos Jazz Trio – composed mainly of the couple Carlos Campos and Luz Acosta. Carlos started to learn playing the piano when he was 10 years old under the instruction of his father Gilberto Campos. After that he was educated in the National Conservatory for 3 years under the tutelage of Professor Ricardo Noriega. He studied in the school of contemporary music under the direction of Tille Valderrama. While in college he met the great master Victor 'Vitin' Paz.

Luz Acosta began her singing career at the age of 13 when she won first place in the a contest in Chiriqui. She studied int the University of Panama under Betty Phillips. She says her greatest musical influence is her husband Carlos Campos.

Cuarteto de Leon – Founded some tine in 1968, the De Leons are Seventh Day Adventists. The band is composed of Alexis de Leon (low voice), Edgar de Leon (baritone), Edgar de Leon Sr. (Second Tenor) and Dieny de Leon (Prime Tenor).

Grupo Orquestral Gatma – Project Gatma started in 1999 with a total of 15 students from Jaramillo Abajo in Boquete. Nine years since, the group has performed in the province of Chiriqui and in the country of Panama.

Jonas Kullhamar – Jonas is an award winning jazz artist from Sweden. His self-produced debut album entitled “Salut” won Sweden Radio's Jazz Cat. He bagged the newcomer of the year award. His sophomore album is called “The Soul of Jonas Kulhamar” and is also self-produced. The third album “Play Loud for the People” was received favorably by critics and was nominated for the Swedish Grammy Awards.

Slender Jazz Band – this band headed by Paul 'Slender' Delgado was formed in 2003. The band is composed of Panamanians Paul 'Slender' Delgado on guitars and Anthony Murgas on keyboards and Costa Rican brothers Randall Ibarra on bass and Mynor Ibarra on drums. El estilo de esta agrupación pasa desde el swing, acid jazz, funky jazz, be-bop, jazz fusión hasta la bossa-nova. The style of this group encompasses swing, acid jazz, funky jazz, be-bop, fusion jazz to bossa-nova.

Victor 'Vitin' Paz – a living legend and a well-known musician the world over. Victor 'Vitin' Paz's musical instrument of choice is the trumpet. He continues to inspire new talent with his love for music.

Aside from the live performances of these outstanding jazz artists, documentaries were also shown. This makes Boquete not just a destination to appreciate nature, but also a place where you can enjoy world class cultural events.

One of the amazing thing about the Boquete Jazz Festival is that the entrance is free. Just bring your own chair!

 




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