Costa Rica Music
The diverse culture of Costa Rica with mix of African, European, and native expressions has much to say about Costa Rica music. This variety of mixes has lent well to a varying range of musical tastes and trends. Although Costa Rica music scene has not been acclaimed internationally, the country’s well-liked genres include a native calypso scene with an addition of flourishing disco audience that thrives mainly in the nightclubs of San José, Costa Rica’s capital.
Like many other Central American countries and abroad, British and American pop music, and rock and roll, are a favorite among the younger crowds. Also popular are the dance-based genres such as marcado, merengue, salsa, cumbia, lambada, and soca. Visitors sometimes stagger across Costa Rica music of famous folk dances such as the Tamborito, Cambute, and Botijuela.
Costa Rica music on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast has been strongly influenced by African where music is based on intricate percussion rhythms such as the singkit. This folk music is the African musical tradition that includes types resulting from Afro-Caribbean music such as the calypso, rumba, and of course the reggae.
The marimba is a popular instrument throughout Costa Rica and other Central American countries. The country’s official national dance is the Punto Guanacasteco and it’s no accident that the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica is home to most of the well-known folk traditions. Guanacaste is also known as the center of folk music in Costa Rica, where songs of tradition such as the “Pampa”, “Amor de Temporado”, “Luna Liberiana”, and “De la cane se hace el guaro” are also famous throughout the country.
The night life in Costa Rica hums with live music that varies from the traditional Latin rhythms, to pop music at the local discotecas, to the classical symphonies at the National Theater. The foundation of native Costa Rica music is the Africa-derived, xylophone style instrument, the marimba. The Atlantic coast night air is filled with the sounds of reggae beats, steel drums, and other Caribbean instruments.
There are several types of music that you can listen to when you’re in Costa Rica. Some of the great places to go for live Costa Rica music classics are the National Symphony Orchestra, Una Hora de Musica, The Costa Rican-North America Cultural Center, and the Alliance Francaise. For those who want to listen to jazz, the Goethe Institute, Liverpool Music Hall, and the Shakespeare Gallery are the places you should go to. For Latin music lovers, the Chavetas Tavern, Balcones, Cocoloco, Los Andes, and Las Esmeralda are the best choices. For rock, reggae, Caribbean, and other, the El Cuartel de la Boca del Monte (“The Cuartel”), Parrilladas, and Liverpool is where you should be. And for those looking for a bit of twist on Costa Rica music where music is blended with spoken words and poetry called the Peñas, the La Rayula, Baleares, Tablado, and the Shakespeare Bar are the places you should not miss.