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Suite Movements


The three movements of this suite are linked by a common theme: the creation and re-creation of social imaginaries in the context of racism and colonization.

Patricia Zárate de Pérez

First Movement


The first movement of the Panamanian Suite focuses on the music written about Panama in the United States and Europe between 1880 and 1924. This historical reconstruction via sheet music was assembled over a period of five years, drawn from the special collections of libraries all over the world. The pieces were chosen because they had some relationship to Panama—either Panama was named or depicted in their titles, lyrics, or cover pictures, or the music was placed in a special collection that celebrated Panama. This important name, Panama, signified a country that had immense geographical power and, at the same time, was vulnerable to colonization by the superpowers from the Global North.

Second Movement


In the second movement of Panamanian Suite, I explore the erased history of Panamanians in jazz, gathering evidence to support the notion that jazz was developed from transnational Pan-Afro-American cultural movements that reflected the complexities of Caribbean migration cycles. I propose that this historical lapse was more than a mere oversight—it was a refusal to study, analyze, and document Caribbean cultural contributions in the United States and in Panama. The persistent erasure of Panamanian identity, along with Afro-Panamanian music and its contributions to jazz, is an important part of a larger system of education and culture in the United States and Panama that has its roots in White supremacy. Music scholarship, like other academic disciplines, has been shaped by power and serves its interests. One narrative dominating and overshadowing others is a natural result.

El desaparecido ferry del Canal de Panamá.jpg
Third Movement


By “Global” we do not imply that the globalization of jazz is new or that folkloric traditions are not already hard coded in the DNA of jazz. Global jazz is about choosing to concentrate on the new forms of musical globalization that emerged in the 1990s, when a new generation of musicians from all over the world began to make explicit connections between jazz and their folkloric and traditional music, instruments and rhythms, placing them on the world stage and shattering the jazz paradigm that writers and musicians in the United States had constructed during the early and mid- twentieth century. After all, jazz itself comes from fluid interactions between different folkloric musics and musicians: Mario Bauza, Dizzy Gillespie with Chano Pozo, Charlie Parker with Machito, and many others have mixed jazz with Latin instruments, Indian tabla, the Panamanian tambor, and more for almost a century. What defines the new era of global jazz is its emergence from the collision of jazz with the socioeconomic and cultural phenomena of hyperglobalization.
-- Patricia Zárate de Pérez (page 139)

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