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Peter Szok

salsa percussionist and influential band leader nicknamed “Bush,” was born in Panama City, Panama, on 17 March 1940, to Clarence Buckley and Ethlyn Clarke. The grandson of Afro-Antillean immigrants, he lived in La Boca, a Panama Canal Zone town, until he was 10. As a child, Buckley spoke exclusively English but developed an appreciation for Cuban music, encouraged by an uncle, who played the saxophone and piano and who later directed a jazz orchestra in New York. The period’s radio programs were also influential. On local and short-wave stations, Buckley listened to Afro-Caribbean rhythms and became a fan of Celia Cruz, Benny Moré, Bebo Valdés, and other Cuban performers. In the 1940s and 1950s, many of these artists came to Panama, especially during the Carnival season, and the young Buckley and his friends gathered in the toldos the open air venues that were erected for their presentations and ...