With the clear goal of generating change in Portobelo and driven by her passion for music, Gladys Palmera, aka Alejandra Fierro Eleta, founded La Escuelita del Ritmo in 2009. Philanthropist, music lover, rupturist, passionate about design, Gladys Palmera lives and has lived her whole life through the love of music and arts.
The Gladys Palmera Foundation, in agreement with the Bahía de Portobelo Foundation, develops a series of strategies with the aim of promoting the integral development of Portobelo and related cultural communities through the preservation and dissemination of the natural and cultural heritage of the Bahía environment. Our project offers innovative initiatives, alliances with public and private institutions and national and international creative experiences that allow the exchange of Portobelo with the world.
The Escuelita del Ritmo uses music as a tool for inclusion and social change and consists of five music classrooms, one for dance, a language laboratory and a multipurpose room. The activities are free and are especially aimed at children and youth in the Portobelo district, who are often at risk of social exclusion, lacking educational opportunities and professional development opportunities.
Our model is based on the recovery and enhancement of Afro-Caribbean culture and maroonage, essential and distinctive elements of empowerment of the Portobeleña cultural identity, which are constituted as a tool for the generation of a sustainable way of life for their population.
The Gladys Palmera Foundation is an independent non-profit organization that was created with the aim of promoting research, conservation, learning, production and dissemination of music and culture from Spain, Latin America, the Caribbean and their diasporas; through the development of projects and activities of a cultural, educational and/or social nature. Born in 1998 with the creation of Radio Gladys Palmera, a nationally and internationally recognized music platform.
Currently, the Gladys Palmera collection has the largest record and documentary archive of Afro-Latin and Caribbean music in the world, in which they are represented, through almost 60,000 vinyl and slate records, and 50,000 CDs, their genres and performers, countries, times , stamps, brands, and creative processes, along with valuable collections of photographs, sheet music, posters and advertisements, programs, books, magazines, personal items, and memorabilia.
The Bahía de Portobelo Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Panama committed to improving the quality of life in the town with programs that seek progress through culture; with actions that promote development with identity. The Bahía de Portobelo Foundation works in the Costa Arriba area of Colón trying to promote the integral and sustainable development of its population. Its strategy focuses on developing and strengthening cultural identity by taking advantage of the historical and natural capital of Portobelo.
Thanks to a team involved in community work and territorial roots, deep recognition has been obtained from the community, Panamanian and international institutions.
Olas de la Mar is a project aiming to rescue and strengthen Congo music and dance, and at the same time, a memory literacy mechanism. That is why it is urgent to document, record and reuse fragments of the memory of a people, in order to create an awareness of a living heritage that is now forgotten. The Congo dance has been declared an intangible cultural heritage of humanity by UNESCO. Each song and dance of the Congo dance is interpreted differently in each “palenque” community (a settlement of runaway blacks in colonial America), having its own individual characteristics.
This studio offers the community beneficiaries the chance to compose and record their music in a quality studio, thus strengthening local cultural production and fostering the development of skills in the artistic activity of Portobelo and Costa Arriba, giving rise to a transformation that is generated and sustained from within the community and perpetuated over time. We intend to professionalize our studio as much as possible and make this space an attractive option for different national and international bands. We believe that in the future Studio Sabrosura can be a sustainability tool for our social musician program. With this program we take a qualitative leap in our social project linked to sound technology and music production.
SUPPORT OUR WORK FOR EDUCATION AND CULTURE BY MAKING A DONATION
The jungle, the rivers and the sea, the climate, the history linked to indigenous people, galleons, slaves, pirates and merchants have shaped a bio-diverse Portobelo rich in cultural manifestations. All this wealth does not prevent Portobelo from still presenting great deficiencies in education, health and well-being of the population.