April 3rd, 2009

A La Plenísima

Plena is Spanish for ‘full.’ But it has other meanings too, depending where yr @ —

                    

In Puerto Rico, plena refers to street music played on panderetas (see, e.g., Sorongo‘s comments here).

In Panama, plena refers to reggae — homegrown reggae en español in particular.

The riddim method has been alive and well in Panama for many years. Before Puerto Ricans took up the mantle, it was Panamanian pioneers such as Nando Boom and El General who showed the way for gente to rap (or better, deejay) over dancehall riddims in Spanish. As demo’d by collections such as this one, a good number of formative Panamanian reggae jams were essentially traducciones of contemporary Jamaican hits. That tradition — of translating and transforming the latest greatest Jamaican reggae songs for Panamanian audiences — continues apace today.

When I was writing my chapter for our reggaeton book, I surveyed the contemporary Panamanian scene to see how that time-honored reggae tradition was faring and found a good number of cover songs amidst the current crop of productions. Here’s part of what ended up in a footnote:

… in 2006, one could hear Panamanian DJ Principal proclaiming himself “El Rey del Dancehall” with the same cadences and over the same riddim that Jamaica’s Beenie Man used to crown himself “King of the Dancehall” a few months earlier, or Panama’s Aspirante employing for “Las Cenizas Dijeron Goodbye” the melody from Jamaican singer Gyptian’s “Serious Times” over a reverent re-lick of the strikingly acoustic Spiritual War riddim that propels the original (though Aspirante changes the text from a meditation on the state of the world to a failed relationship).

All of this is un poco preamble to put into context the tip I received from a reader this week (thx, Tom!), reporting that Panamanian reggae artists are, unsurprisingly, enthralled by the “Miss Independent” riddim. No doubt this is well below the radar — none of these Panamanian versions are about to get played on, say, Hot 97 as Vybz’s “Ramping Shop” was — so I doubt that N_-Y_ or St_rg_te or E_I will be sending threatening emails anytime soon (certain vowels omitted to evade litigious Googlers).

Tom says that he counted no fewer than 11 (!) songs employing the riddim. Here are a few, including one which, funny and densely, simply features someone rapping in Spanish on top of Vybz and Spice’s song. The rest employ the instrumental riddim-wise —

     RUFF DAD ft VYBZ KARTEL & SPICES REMIX.mp3
     

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

     tommy real-atados.mp3
     

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

     SCAREDEM FISH feat SUPPOSE —- ESTAN DEAD.mp3
     

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

     EL_HOMBRE_INDICADO_-_CARAMEL.mp3
     

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

If you want to hear more along these lines, check out this mixtape of Panamanian dancehall, aka “Da Spanish Reggae Blue Print” —

                    

& if you want to learn more about the plena / bultrón / reggae/ton scene inna Panama, check out the blog by MTVU Fulbright scholar, Larnies.

Finally, talk about plenathis site has more mp3s than you could shake a bot at. Basta! I’m full —

6 Comments

  • 1. Winslow  |  April 5th, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    Sigh… to be a Fulbright. That blog is awesome..

  • 2. wayneandwax.com » I&hellip  |  December 3rd, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    […] “Rampin Shop” — has become a veritable version in Panama, supporting no fewer than a dozen local voicings (and probably many […]

  • 3. wayneandwax.com » B&hellip  |  January 14th, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    […] turned up any vocal versions to add to the spate of recordings on the riddim one can find in Panama (or Jamaica). But I’m sharing this here in the hope that some readers might be able to point […]

  • 4. wayneandwax.com » P&hellip  |  January 26th, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    […] is all, sin duda, par for the course inna Panama where, as I’ve been noting, the ol’ riddim method is audibly alive and well. I’m gonna have to keep falling […]

  • 5. Vickie Tisdale  |  April 29th, 2010 at 7:25 am

    The contemporary Panamanian scene to see how that time-honored reggae tradition was faring and found a good number of cover songs amidst the current crop of productions.Now a day in many occasion Brazilian samba song and dance is used so that people can know about other culture and language.

  • 6. wayneandwax.com » C&hellip  |  February 17th, 2012 at 9:35 am

    […] sample-based approach to Spanish dancehall (though faithful approaches persist under the plena banner, sin […]

Wayne&Wax

I'm a techno-musicologist, internet annotator, imagined community organizer.

I left my <3 in the digital global, but I reside in Cambridge, MA, where I'm from.

I represent like that.

wayne at wayneandwax dot com

Tag Cloud

academic aesthetics af-am africa anthro arab art audio baby babylonia beatresearch blogging bookish boston brazil cambridge caribbean chicago commerce copywrong cumbia dance dubstep ethno europe events funkcarioca gigs global globalghettotech hip-hop humor industry internet interview jamaica jazz juke kwaito latin lifey linkthink mashup media mexico middleeast mixx nation newyork panama politricks pop public puertorico r&b race radio reggae reggaeton remix review riddimmeth0d rock sampling seasonal sexuality soundscape tech techno traxx UK video whirledmusic worldmusic youth

Month

 

Creative Commons License

chacarron chacarronchaca-riggity-ron