The Astronauts are arguably the most successful ‘‘Gyambo’ Singing group’. Unlike the Gay Crooners, who were also genuine ‘Gyambo’ talents, the Astronauts stayed in Panama and performed over many years in various venues in the Canal Zone towns, on military bases and in both of the Republic’s terminal cities, Colon and Panama City.
Viewed in this picture are the original members of the Astronauts:
- Alfonso Martin commonly known as (Bramwell/Brain) he was the key recruiter for the group and the lead singer.
- Clarence (Fats) Glasgow, sang bass;
- Levy (Mitchie) Evelyn Jr. back-up and pianist
- Emerson (Emy) Cooper, backup and lead
They started as a local ‘Gyambo’ rock & roll group and ended up being a the premiere ensemble. Over the years, the group continued to grow adding many known Panamanian players such as Eddie Piano, Eddie Guitar, Richard ‘Dickie’ Burns, Arnold ‘Nal’ Shan, Drummer Adams and many more.
They were contemporaries of the Gay Crooners, Earth Angels and ‘Gyambo’ originated groups. They were often recruited to perform with performers visiting Panama from the U.S., including such acts as Donnie Elbert, Ben E. King. The Astronauts regularly performed for the yearly United Fund Drive in the Canal Zone. During these campaigns they were the featured acts performing at all the towns along the Canal Zone Rail Road line. They were frequently feature acts on radio station HOG and CFN (SCN) armed forces radio. The group was managed by Harold (Freaks) Cooper, Emy’s dad, who also created the ‘Hal Cooper Review Ensemble that included the very talented ‘Gyambo’s Vilma Henry. The Ensemble was very popular on all the Military bases on the Canal Zone. They also performed regularly at The Maxims, The Encanto, El Rancho and many other notable Panamanian night spots.