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Ruben Blades

Rubén Blades is one of the most successful vocalists in the history of Panamanian music. A former member of bands led by Ray Barretto and Willie Colón, Blades has continued to influence salsa music with his highly literate, politically tinged lyrics and his modern-minded arrangements, which substitute the usual horn and Latin percussion sections with synthesizers and drum sets. Often referred to as "the Latin Bruce Springsteen," Blades provided a musical voice for the middle class of Central America. Raised in a middle-class neighborhood in Panama City, Blades inherited his musical talents from his parents. His mother, Anoland, who emigrated from Cuba, played piano and sang in Spanish. His father, Ruben Sr., a police detective, played bongos.

Inspired by the doo wop singing of Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers, Blades began singing North American pop and rock songs in his early teens. In 1963, he became the lead singer of a band, the Saints, formed by his older brother, Luis. The political upheaval in Panama during the mid-'60s had a profound effect as Blades became increasingly committed to his own roots, refusing to sing in any language but his native Spanish.

While studying law at the University of Panama, Blades continued to be involved with his music, singing with Conjunto Latino and Los Salvajes del Ritmo. In 1968, an album he recorded with Bush and the Magnificos reached Joe Cuba's producer in New York. Invited to join Cuba's band, he declined in order to complete college. When the Panamanian government closed the university, he made his first trip to the United States. While in the U.S., Blades recorded an album, From Panama to New York, with Pete Rodriguez. Shortly after the album's release, the University of Panama was reopened and Blades returned to complete his undergraduate studies. Although he accepted a position as a lawyer for the Bank of Panama, following his graduation, he returned to the U.S., to visit his parents, who had emigrated to Miami, in 1974.

While in the United States, Blades traveled to New York and took a job in the mailroom of the Latin-oriented Fania record label. A year later, he replaced Tito Allen as featured vocalist in Ray Barretto's band, auditioning in Fania's mailroom. When Barretto left to form a Latin fusion group, Blades took over as bandleader and renamed the group Guarare. In 1975, Blades composed and sang lead on Barretto's recording "Canto Abacua," featured on the album Barretto. As a result, Blades was named Composer of the Year by Latin New York magazine. Blades had also been playing with Willie Colón's band, and he remained with Colón for six years. Their collaboration reached its apex with the three-million-copy-selling album Siembra, which included the single "Pedro Navaja," the biggest selling single in salsa history. Blades' politically oriented lyrics were not universally accepted. In 1980, his song "Tiburon," which spoke out against superpower intervention in the Caribbean, was banned from radio airplay in Miami.

Forming his own band, Los Seis del Solar, in 1982, Blades began to perform an exciting fusion of Latin, rock, reggae, and Caribbean music. Their debut album, Buscando América, was released in 1983. A year later, Blades enrolled in the graduate school at Harvard University, eventually receiving a master's degree in international law.

Since the early '80s, Blades has balanced his musical career with acting and writing songs for such films as The Last Fight, Crossover Dreams, Critical Condition, Fatal Beauty, The Milagro Beanfield War, Dead Man Out, Disorganized Crime, The Lemon Sisters, The Two Jakes, Predator 2, One Man's War, The Josephine Baker Story, Crazy From the Heart, Color of Night, A Million to Juan, Scorpion Spring, and The Devil's Own. Blades shared the title role, with Marc Anthony, in Paul Simon's Broadway musical The Capeman.

Blades, who lives in California with his actress wife Lisa Lebenzon, has remained active with politics. The founder of a new political party in Panama, he ran for president of Panama in 1994, coming in second in the election. While much of Blades' repertoire is in the Spanish language, he recorded an English-language album, Nothing But the Truth, featuring songs by Lou Reed, Elvis Costello, and Sting, in 1988.

The 1990s were relatively busy ones for Blades musically, and he released several albums, including Ruben Blades y Son del Solar...Live! (1990), Caminando (1991), Amor y Control (1994), La Rosa de los Vientos (1996), and Tiempos (1999) before stepping back a bit in the first decade of the 21st century, releasing Mundo in 2002, the Live! In Concert DVD in 2006, and De Panama a Nueva York in 2008. ~ Craig Harris
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: El Que La Hace La Paga

1. Cabeza De Hacha

2. Si Yo Pudiera Andar

3. Tu Me Acostumbraste

4. Ganas

5. Lo Pasado No Perdona

6. Te Odio Y Te Quiero

7. Para Ser Rumbero

x

Track List: Maestra Vida I - Primera Parte

1. Prologo

2. Manuela

3. Carmelo (Parte I)

4. Como Tu, Carmelo (Part II)

5. Yo Soy Una Mujer

6. La Fiesta

7. El Nascimiento De Ramiro

8. Dejenme Reir (Para No Llorar)

x

Track List: Bohemio Y Poeta

1. Juan Pachanga

2. Sin Tu Carino

3. Paula C

4. Me Recordaras

5. Pablo Pueblo

6. La Mora

7. Canto Abacua

x

Track List: De Panama A Nueva York, From Panama To New York: Con La Orquesta De Pete Rodriguez

1. Juan Gonzalez

2. Solo

3. Hey Man

4. When

5. Descarga Caliente

6. Bravo

7. Donde

8. Pescador

9. Amanecer

10. De Panama A Nueva York

x

Track List: Paula C (Version Tango) (Single)

x

Track List: Pedro Navaja (Version Tango) (Single)

x

Track List: Todos Vuelven - Vol.1

1. Caminos Verdes

2. El Padre Antonio Y El Monaguillo Andres

3. Cuentas Del Alma

4. Amor Y Control

5. Decisiones

6. Buscando Guayaba

7. Plantacion Adentro

8. Te Estan Buscando

9. Plastico

10. Ligia Elena

11. Juan Pachanga

x

Track List: Todos Vuelven Vol. 2

1. Pablo Pueblo

2. Maestra Vida

3. Caminando

4. Adan Garcia

5. Desapariciones

6. Patria

7. Muevete

8. Pedro Navaja

9. Todos Vuelven

10. Buscando America

Comments

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Puerto Rico te ama con todo su corazón , eres nuestro también.
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Salsa es poder!!!! Q viva nuestra musica HP!!!!!!!
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His Music Will Live Forever in our Mind
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Moravia yo no entiendo como el dice que le tiene respecto a in traicinonero como willy colon
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%%%%% COMPOSITOR DE COMPOSITORES %%%%%
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Y sigo con los recuerdos de mi HEMANO CUCO TORRENS ATLETA DE SALTO CON VAYA NUNCA LO DEJARE DE QUERER SALSERO100%Y Q U I E N ME ENSENO TO LO QUE SE MI PADRE CUCO TE QUIERO HASTA LA MUERTE YMAS RUMBERO HASTA LA MUERTE D.T.B
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Lenny831,com o salsero que soy siempre me a gustado la,musica de(Ruben blades)
Tiene mucho sentido sus composicione s . ! !
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Pedro navaja papi not Paul blade these stupid critics always wanna Americanize Latinos. Hello most of us were born here because we were brought here not by choice so don't classify us to be something we're not. We are Latinos! Period
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jonny mendez is correct!!!!! some a**hole jewfrom nyc or la who gets paid to critique artists and music ...probably never touched a musical instrument in his life...came up with some cute witty handle to put on Blades and the reviews and music mags buy it and run with it!!! F**kin Lame Bro!!!!!!Im from Jersey, Irish catholic.... many latio friends , Boriqua y Cubano...man y years... i play Bass elec. and uprite .just came back fro cuba...Haban a jazz fest,dont own 1 sprngsteen album he sucks
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GET THE FREAK OUT OF HERE ! DO NOT PUT R.B. IN THAT BS THIS IS TOTTALLY A IDIOTIC STATEMENT. THAT RUBEN BLADES IS THE LATIN BRUCE SPINGSTEEN. ARE YOU OUT OF YOU R MIND ? Please don't insult us puerto ricans panamanians and Latinos. Ayy.iyiyiyi increible
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Ruben blades,treme n d o vocalista que viva la salsa��
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Best Panamanian artist ever.
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Blades es el cronista del Caribe, Centroaméric a y el mundo hispano en los Estados Unidos a traves de la salsa. Sus canciones siempre han relatado momentos importantes de nuestra historia. Tiburon, el Padre Antonio y su Monaguillo Andres, Plástico (y su "Nicaragua sin Somoza"). La letra de sus canciones incluyen frases que se han convertido en parte del léxico de nuestra región. Además es tremendo compositor y cantante. Uno de los grandes de la salsa.
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He has influenced my continued love for politics, which involve anything Carribean.
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Es un agasojo escuchar al maestro Rubén Blades soy mexicano pero amo la música de Blades
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Always listening him
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The best my favorite
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unirjaguar
Gran artista y hombre de convicciones .
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Este es uno de los grande talentos y bendiciones para nuestro pais , congratulaci o n e s Ruben Blade pa'lante con fe que Dios siempre te guarde.
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Juan del ríols
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La vida te dá sorpresa, sorpresas te da la vida ay Dios!
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You really inspired me to continue to be better in my life and the future of my grandkids may god bless you in many ways to come viva the sasa
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Viva la izquierda
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sexxy_bunny8 6
Soy cubanita y goso sus canciones desde las Vegas
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Camaleon
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eeortiz1122
Pedro navaja
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kikovazquez2 9
This is what u call a real singer old school too the fullest !! P.R
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The best mi Pana
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Bandada
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Thorough Bred.
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The first time that I was introduced to Ruben Blades was at the Club de Yates y Pesca in Panama while he was singing with The Salvaje del Ritmo. I wlll never forget that day in Panama that I was captivated by the effortless and melodios way he brought the music to life and he continue to do the same today as yesterday. God Bless You My Panamania Brother
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baltodanorog e r
La vida es asi
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Amor Y Control listen to this song real good!!!!!!
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toledoj07
The later Julio collazo and him were budies
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cano-144
Buenos.recue r d o . d e . l o s 70
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Salsa is my Life
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Ruben, gran cantante y mejor compositor. La primera vez que lo escuche me impacto la letra de sus canciones. Orgullo Latino.
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Love Ruben & LOVE this song- whoever sings this song, its a heartfelt song! Always have to think of the original person who this makes me think of & that is Hector Lavoe- que triste!
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I began listening to Ruben when I lived in Panama el pais mas bella in todo el mundo in 98 and 99. The first album I bought was Tiempos and it was amazing. I have since listened and have a good collection of his music. He writes about topics that are important to him. Not only do they pertain to Panama, centro y suramerica but also to north america and all the corrupt and brutal governments around the world. I can listen to him anytime. I never get tired of his music. He has influenced how I l
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Grew up listening to Ruben, hector, willie, tito and Celia. thanks to my boriqua mother. Rest in peace Mami love you & now i'm raising my son to appreciate his Puerto Rican- dominican roots.
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cano-144
Uno.de mi.favorito. P a b l o . p u e b l o . b o n i t o s . r e c u e r d o
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Me encanta....
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Rubén es tremendo compositor y hace periculas y las he visto, me gusta màs su humildad y la calidad de ser humano....
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Escuchando tu musica Rubén es dificil negar negar .nuestras raices soy 100/00. C. A de madre nicaraguence , padre salvadoreño yo nacido en el pais mas lindo.del mundo pto. Armuelle chiriqui panama por eso me gusta tu musica
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Me encantan su historias hechas canciones,me transportan al pintoresco Panamá viejo. Uno de los paises de buenos amigos y momentos inolvidables
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I love his music, Ruben makes me feel proud of my Latino Heritage, and looking at Ruben's background makes believe even more in what my father used to tell me, You are as intelligent as anyone else if you study hard and have good studying habits.
Thank you Ruben, Love the movies you're in.
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You go Ruben Blades panama baila salsa de la buena ecua hey.
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El Poeta y conciencia del PUEBLO
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Orgullosa dé ser PanáRican ...Arroz con pollo y arroz con gandules . Thank mom&dad por mis dos razas latina.
Best of 2worlds
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love my latin roots! Sea de Puerto Rico o Panama! No importa! Es nuestra sangre, nuestra amor y passion se oye en nuestra musica! Love you brother! Weepa!!!
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