Country no. 32: a man, a plan, a karaoke bar in Panama

My singing appearance on a Friday night in Panama City was probably my most enjoyable evening in the history of my World Karaoke Tour. Yes, it may even have surpassed the amazing times I’ve had behind the microphone in such cities as Paris and Frankfurt. 🙂 Here’s how it went down:

I’d flown from New York to Peru on Copa Airlines, the flag carrier of Panama, and in fact had a layover in Panama City’s airport when I initially flew to Lima. For the return leg of my trip, I’d decided that rather than just change planes in Panama again, I would take advantage of the opportunity to spend a weekend in Panama City. Among other things, I was eager to take a boat ride on the Panama Canal, one of the engineering marvels of modern times.

Another consideration, of course, was that a multi-day stay would make make it possible for me to do some singing while on Panamanian soil. 🙂 Peru had just become the 31st country in which I’ve sung, and now it was time to increase the total to 32! I didn’t waste any time taking care of business; on my very first night in Panama, I went to a karaoke bar called The Green Room in Panama City.

The house was packed, which boded well for a memorable evening. The outstanding attendance also influenced me to choose a song with a proven history of getting crowds fired up: “La Bamba.” It’s a number that I’d done dozens of times before, but which remains one of my top go-to songs in venues around the world. You can watch my Panamanian performance of it here:


My performance of this song on Friday, November 29, 2013 made Panama the 32nd country on my World Karaoke Tour! As you can hear throughout the video, the energy level and enthusiasm of the crowd were off the charts. That type of interaction with a live audience is what I’m always hoping for during my tour — but it’s so rarely achieved. By the way, I apologize for the shakiness of the camera during the latter portion of the song. At that point, the patron in the bar who was nice enough to serve as my videographer got a little over-exuberant, and started dancing while she was recording me. 🙂

While planning my vacation, I’d entertained the idea of singing the Van Halen song “Panama” while in the country of that name. That would have fit in with my previously-stated policy of trying to choose songs that pertain in some way to my particular destinations. Here’s the official music video of Van Halen’s “Panama”:


Due to sheer laziness, I didn’t get around to learning the Van Halen song well enough to have the confidence to perform it in public at all, let alone in a foreign land. I’m okay with that, though; despite its name, the song actually has nothing to do with the country. (It’s about a car called the Panama Express.) Besides, while the Van Halen song is fun to listen to, it’s hard to imagine that it could have gone over as well with the local crowd as “La Bamba” did.

Such is the story of my Panamanian karaoke debut. My next post discusses my experience as a passenger riding through the Panama Canal!

My view from a boat passing through the Miraflores Locks in the Panama Canal.

My view from a boat passing through the Miraflores Locks in the Panama Canal.

Categories: North America, travel, World Karaoke Tour | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Country no. 32: a man, a plan, a karaoke bar in Panama

  1. Strong singing, excellent Spanish pronunciation and creative choreography!:)

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    • @Ina: Thank you! And I’ve used the same choreography for that song many times, but I’m glad it still seemed fresh. 🙂

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