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Luis Casal - Homage to Panama

Musicians:

Luis Enrique Casal R.
Former principal violist of the National Symphony of Panama, and one of the leading violinists of his native country, he is also known for his scholarly devotion to the folk music of Panama, Latin jazz, singing, and dancing. He holds degrees in violin and viola from New World School of the Arts, Carnegie Mellon University, Indiana University, and the University of Oklahoma. In this his new recording, Casal pays tribute to his homeland by featuring the violin, Panama’s leading folk instrument in the first decades of the 20th century.

Luis E. Casal, padre
Participant in several musical groups, giving serenades accompanied by guitars from a young age and a member of the school choir. Casal studied Medicine and graduated as a Surgeon from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, specializing in Pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of the city of Panama.

Paola Esther Casal
Multifaceted artist and performer of both violin and viola who has not only been seen performing in musical videos but has shown skill in dancing, singing, and Panamanian folk arts. Her violin teachers include Helena Kitras, Jorge Vergara, and Graciela Núñez. She recently finished a degree in physical therapy from the Universidad Latina de Panamá.

Isaac Casal
Talented young cellist from Panama who has represented his country internationally as member of the Youth Orchestra of the Americas. His cello teachers include Jaime Ledezma, Karen Melik-Stephanov, Keith Robinson, Javier Arias, and Dr. Gary Hardie. Casal has also attended master classes with Martin Von Hopffgarten, Paul Katz, Jeffrey Solow, Álvaro Rodríguez, Andres Díaz, and Harvey Shapiro. He is currently completing a master in cello performance at Baylor University (Waco, Texas).

Juan Gabriel Cedeño
Panamanian bass player known for his versatility in many musical genres reflected in the vast discography he has participated on. At the 13th Symposium of Caribbean Composers and First Encounter of Musicology of the Caribe, Cedeño performed the world premiere of Parusia 2, a concerto for electric bass and orchestra by Panamanian guitarist and composer Gabriel Tapia.

Efraín González G.
Born in Ocú, Panamá, he began playing the mejoranera under the instruction of his father. A virtuoso of this instrument, Efraín has won first prize in the most prestigious mejorana contests in Panama, including the Festival del Manito y Feria de San Sebastián and the Festival de la Mejorana. As a member of the folk Panamanian group Conjunto de la Autoridad del Canal de Panamá Efraín has been able to take the music of his country to many international stages.

Emiliano Pardo-Tristán
One of Panama’s most important guitar players and composer. Pardo-Tristán is the founder of the International Festival of Guitar in Panama and president and artistic director of the Guitar Association of Panama. His compositions have been performed by The Philadelphia Classical Guitar Trio, Trio Cadenza, Trio Gandhara, Philadelphia Classical Symphony, Delaware Symphony, Grand Rapid Orchestra, Jackson Symphony Orchestra, and the Orquesta Nacional de Panamá.

Ella Ponce
Percussionist with the National Symphony of Panama, Ponce studied percussion at the Universidad de Chile with Elena Corvalán and Ramón Hurtado Jorquera. At the present time she serves as composer, director and vibraphonist of Ensamble Mixturas, a group she founded with Chilean composer and guitarist Rodrigo Invernizzi.

Norberto Ulloa Antunez
Multifaceted musician and painter from the Azuero Peninsula who studied at the National Institute of Music of Panama. Norberto plays many instruments (strings, winds, and keyboards, among others). At the present time he is the primary teacher of classical guitar and popular guitar at the Escuela Superior de Artes de la Facultad de Bellas Artes in the town of Chitré, province of Herrera.

Ricaurte Villarreal
Born in the Panamanian province of Los Santos, Panamá, an expert on the rhythmic diversity of the Panamanian tambores (drums) and an authority on Panamanian folklore. Villarreal won the golden medal “Gumercindo Díaz” as the finest folk drummer of Panamá. He has represented Panama at many cultural embassies world wide, and has collaborated and recorded with Danilo Pérez (on CD Motherland).

Composers:

Ricardo Fábrega (1905-1973)
Born in Santiago, Veraguas, Fabrega’s mother was his first music teacher. He attended the National Institute of Music of Panama where he learned to play the piano. He also played the guitar and the Colombian tiple. At age 18 he composed his first piece. Among his prolific compositions are Taboga, Panamá, Noche tropical, and Bajo un palmar. Fábrega composed Taboga about the island located in the bay of Panama, remembering his courtship with Anita Morgan, whom he married in 1930.

Joaquín “Chin” Carrizo Núñez (1913-1973)
Journalist and researcher Olmedo Carrasquilla Alberola has recorded that Joaquín Carrizo was born on January 2, 1913 in the town of Ocú. Violin interested him the most, and he spent countless hours listening to phono recordings of the great virtuosos. Carrizo distinguished himself as an artist, educator, architect, music composer, and a dedicated observer of nature. He composed several pieces in different genres including his most popular piece Julia.

Vicente Gómez Gudiño (1903-1964)
Inspired flutist and sax player, Gómez Gudiño was granted the order Vasco Núñez de Balboa. He composed beautiful pasillos, among the most popular: Suspiros de una fea, Fello, La alondra chiricana, Sergio Arturo, Don Félix, Poeta y aldeano, Vielka Elisa, and Danubio azul. He led a bohemian life and died in poverty.

José Antonio “Toñito” Sáez (1906-1956)
This folk violin player was born in the Villa de Los Santos and is the son of José Antonio Sáez and Encarnación Garrido. Some of his compositions include Sinceridad, La rebujina, Arroz con mango, La Guayama, and El mosquito (the only piece he recorded, more than 50 years ago). He died in Chitré on October 15, 1956 at the age 50 due to a heart attack. The seizure occurred shortly after his last appearance on a Sunday radio broadcast.

José De la Rosa Cedeño (1907-1990)
“Maestro De la Rosa,” as Cedeño was known, was born in the town of La Palma, Las Tablas, province of Los Santos. He was one of the first important folk violin players in Panama in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Many of his compositions continue to be performed by the most well-known ensembles of Panamanian folk music. He has been honored on many occasions, including The First Homage to the Best Composers of Folk Panamanian Music, which took place on November 6, 1969. Cedeño was a pillar in the popularization of Panamanian folk music.


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