Panameņo, Panameņo
Contributed by Father Fred Raybourn, Jr. SSC

A number of Latin artists have sung "El Tambor de La Alegria" the proper name of the song that many only know of as "Panameņo, Panameņo. . .   Anyway, the one who has performed it well is Margarita Escala.  She used to sing with Lucho Azcarraga and other Conjuntos.   Don't know if she is still living.

This piece originated as a commercial jingle to publicize a "toldo" (open air dance hall very popular during the carnival and fiesta times), located on Calle 12 Oeste (12th Street West), that was called "El Tambor de La Alegria".  The words, very simply poetic verses, were written by my uncle, the late Don Juan Pastor Paredes, a very well known public figure in the Republic.  The music was composed by Seņora Carmen Lagnon, who had no pretense of being a composer, but just worked to compose a simple melodic piece that would be easy to remember.  A piece written about this states that: "Neither of the two ever imagined, then, that their simple song, born without any pretensions (only the desire to have it identify the "toldo") would reach out and represent the national music (of Panama) within and outside the country."

Throughout Latin America various artist have sung this piece, and have added to the original words.  The verses that is almost always used, and remembered, is the first

                        Panameņo, Panameņo
                        Panameņo vida mia.
                           Yo quiero que tu me lleves
                           al "Tambor de la alegria".   [These two lines are the refrain.]

The rest of the original words are:

                        Al Tambor de la Alegria
                        donde esta la vida mia. . .
                            'Yo quiero que tu me lleves . . . (refrain)'

                        Por los santos de los cielos
                        y por la santa Virgen Maria.
                            'Yo quiero . . . . .'

                        Si no tienes "mergollina"
                        sacate la loteria.
                            'Yo quiero . . . .  .'

                        Muchacha no seas tan tonta
                        casate con policia.
                             'Yo quiero . . . . .'

                        Que ganan noventa pesos
                         trabajando noche y dia.
                             'Yo quiero . . . . .'

                        Yo quiero pasear en coche
                         y tambien en el tranvia.
                              'Yo quiero . . . . .'

                        Yo quiero que tu me lleves
                        donde esta la vida mia.
                              'Yo quiero . . . . .'

The piece, a "commercial jingle", was written and composed in 1918.  Hope this helps in some way.  And now you know the rest of the story!

September 10, 2000

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