Listen to a Clip of the Interview
Hear More From Jose Balmaceda
Subscribe to our email list and get access to our Digital Library, where you can find interview transcripts, full-length interviews, resources for educators and researchers, and more!
Jose Balmeceda was born in Colón in 1933 to parents who were from Nicaragua and Colón. His grandfather was from Martinique. Mr. Balmaceda credits teacher Hector Connor, a Jamaican born and prominent educator in Colón, and his Colegio Modelo Dumbar, for his very strong basic education in English and later on Spanish. He also studied at the Abel Bravo High School, and completed partial architectural studies at the University of Panama, which allowed him to work as an Engineering Technician with the U. S. Army during their stay in Panama. He retired as such with 32 years of service. As a young child, he was always drawn to his own rich Caribbean musical heritage, but as a young adult, he began to sing American tunes and then Spanish with his guitar trio for 52 years. Mr. Balmaceda also performs for religious purposes; serving in the church choir and singing at weddings, funerals, and other ceremonies. Since 2000, he has been with the Bishop’s choir in Panama City. He is also working on a history of his native Colón, a predominantly-West Indian province in Panama. According to him, most of what is known about the area is all bad, but there are good, honest, and talented people who live there. Mr. Balmaceda has eight children: five in Colón, one in Panama City, and two others.