Costa Rica Music
What to listen to...
As you sit comfortably on the deck of your Costa Rica lodge, admiring the canopy of trees that line the horizon, soft calypso music will most probably be playing in the background, hypnotising you as you lie back in your deck chair with a cold drink in your hand.
This gentle, yet often vibrant music is part of the heart and soul of Costa Rican culture. Latin America is a melting pot of different cultures, styles and musical influences with Costa Rica being the epicentre of many of these eclectic tunes.
The Ticos [a name the Costa Ricans use to refer to themselves] enjoy all forms of music, including 70’s and 80’s music, contemporary US and UK rock and international jazz.
The Salsa, the lambada, Merengue and Cumbia are the favoured tunes for dancing to. The usually reserved Ticos dance to the sway of their favourite Latin music throughout the night. Various Costa Rican musicians have risen to international acclaim and their music will live on through the generations. Your accommodation in Costa Rica will no doubt provide you with many opportunities to dance the night away at their Mexican-styled bars.
Classical music forms a large portion of the Costa Rican musical arsenal. The Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional has garnered international praise and performed for kings, queens and many famous presidents of the US. Costa Rica also has a world famous youth orchestra which was founded by the ex president and folk hero himself, Jose Figueres Ferrer. The youth orchestra boasts the youngest ever solo violin player at the age of four years old and the youngest ever conductor, also four years of age.
Many contemporary Costa Rican bands prefer to blend their distinctive folk music with modern songs; this produces up-to-date tunes with a classic beat, such as the popular band, the Peregrino Gris do. Traditional instruments, such as wooden ocarinas, are slowly being replaced by modern guitars and accordions. You will hear this music coming from many a Costa Rica villa as you relax and take in the sights.
Folk music owes a great debt of thanks to the African Marimba instruments and songs such as ‘Amor de Temporada’, ‘De la caña se hace el guaro’; ‘Luna Liberiana’ and ‘Pampa’ are terrific examples of these lively tunes. Groups such as the Cantares have worked hard over the years to popularise this form of music. For the best in folk music, one must travel outside of their Costa Rica rainforest lodge to the Guanacaste area of the Peninsula of Nicoya.
Travel from your vacation villa in Costa Rica to San Jose Modern and experience the best in soft jazz and watch other new musicians develop their craft at the cafes and side street bistros. Look out for Editus, a renowned Jazz musician who is one of the many artists who have left their mark on Costa Rica and have managed to garner themselves a Grammy award in the process.
Calypso music, which is rooted in the rhythms of reggae beats and steel drums plays on every street corner and on every radio, has its roots in each and every one of the music styles listed in this section. Calypso originated from Trinidad as a form of story-telling, which the slaves would drum out in rhythmic in hypnotic beats. These songs are an excellent portrayal of Afro-Caribbean culture.
The Costa Ricans proudly state that they do not have an army, but they do have violins. Instead of allocating a budget to a defence force, Costa Rica has a world class symphony orchestra, free education and a universal health care system. As you travel Latin America, take in the sights and most especially, the sounds of this lively nation as you visit their scenic villages.