Graham Greene published a memoir about a series of trips he took to Panama around the time of the signing of the Carter-Torrijos Canal Treaty, and noted that everywhere he went he saw men ¨barking¨ at one another. When he asked the country´s leader Gen. Omar Torrijos about the phenomenon, Torrijos informed that it was not barking but ¨traditional peasant singing.¨ The Panamanians call it the salomar. And it´s probably best if I let this video (which was posted on YouTube by another volunteer) do the explaining:
I think Omar Torrijos was a stand up guy and all, but, frankly, I find his application of the word ¨singing¨ awfully generous. Mostly because the first time we heard people doing it we thought we were about to be attacked. Songs generally don´t have that effect on me. Anyway, now we´ve learned that salomaring is something of an art form, and that each town has two or three salomar champs who are often called upon for entertainment (alcohol is almost always involved). They even hold salomaring competitions. Which, of course, are broadcast over the radio:
I tell you what, Panama: I don´t think we´re going to be able to find anything like that on the dial at home.