History of Santiago's Murgas
Murga Santiaguena before a performance at the Lotery Square, Panama City, in 1985.
Members of that murga in 1994
At Calle Arriba de Pedasi in 2002
Another view of the carnavales at Pedasi, 2002
Members of Olmedo Carrasquilla's Murga
Murgas are brass bands used in Panama for playing carnavales music. They are very popular all over the country. One of the cities where they have a long history spanning decades is Santiago, capital city of Veraguas province.
The development of a long string of murga bands in Santiago was not casual. It was a direct result of the establishment, in 1938, of the main Normal School of Panama. Because this school graduated teachers, they had to be well rounded in many disciplines, including music. In order to accomplish that feat, the education authorities transferred the best music teachers in Panama City, and also brought several from foreing countries, to Santiago. This was the beginning of the murga culture there.
Several decades after that, generations of murga musicians from Veraguas have played and continue to play at different carnavales all over Veraguas and even neighboring provinces such as Chiriquí, Herrera and Los Santos.