San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Papaya Music Hosts First Papaya Fest in San José

This month, local record label Papaya Music introduces the first-ever Papaya Fest, a citywide celebration of Central American music that will help San José live up to its title of 2006 Latin American Cultural Capital.

The festival kicked off Feb. 1 with a monthlong Central American Music Fair in record and gift shops throughout San José, and culminates next weekend with four outdoor concerts in the heart of the city.

On the program next week is a weeklong music and performance workshop for the Papaya Orchestra, which will inaugurate the main part of the festival Feb. 16, and a five-day conference in which independent labels from Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and Costa Rica will meet to discuss better methods of production, distribution and marketing in the region. Although these events are not open to the public, there will be a variety of free performances this weekend at locations throughout the greater metropolitan area (see Calendar pages for details) providing a taste of what’s to come, with Honduran children’s songs, Nicaraguan marimbas and Panamanian folk music.

The main festival will take place in the parking lot of the Edificio Metal in downtown San José Feb. 16-19, and will feature 10 bands from throughout Central America, spanning all genres of music, from nueva trova to calypso, reggae, rock, Garífuna, jazz and more.

Tickets are on sale at Vértigo,Music Box and Librería Nacional stores, and cost ¢1,000 ($2) per concert in advance, ¢1,500 ($3) the day of the show or ¢3,000 ($6) for passes to all four concerts.

For more information and a full listing of bands and performances, visit


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