RUBEN BLADES - Salsa, Latin Jazz Music Panama

Rubén Blades Bellido de Luna ( born July 16, 1948) is a Panamanian salsa singer, songwriter, lawyer, actor, Latin jazz musician, and politician, performing musically most often in the Afro-Cuban and Latin jazz genres. As songwriter, Blades brought the lyrical sophistication of Central American nueva canción and Cuban nueva trova as well as experimental tempos and political inspired Nuyorican salsa to his music, creating thinking persons' (salsa) dance music. Blades has composed dozens of musical hits, the most famous of which is "Pedro Navaja," a song about a neighborhood thug who appears to die during a robbery (his song "Sorpresas" continues the story), inspired by "Mack the Knife." He also composed and sings what many Panamanians consider their second national anthem. The song is titled "Patria" (Fatherland).



RUBEN BLADES Exploring Rubén Blades' Impactful Latin Jazz and Salsa Music: A Look at His Vinyl Albums

Band Information:

Rubén Blades is a legendary Panamanian singer, songwriter, actor, and politician, known for his contribution to the Latin music genre, as well as his political activism. Born in Panama City, Panama, on July 16, 1948, Blades grew up in a middle-class family, where he developed an interest in music and culture from a young age. He began playing guitar and singing in his teenage years and went on to study law at the University of Panama before pursuing his career in music.

Blades's music career began in the early 1970s, when he joined a salsa band called Ray Barretto's Orchestra as a vocalist. His debut solo album, "De Panamá a Nueva York," was released in 1970 and featured the hit song "El Cazanguero." Over the next few years, Blades released several more albums, including "Siembra," which became one of the best-selling salsa albums of all time. The album included the hit song "Pedro Navaja," which became an instant classic and one of Blades's most famous songs.

Blades's music is known for its socially conscious themes and political commentary, addressing issues such as poverty, injustice, and corruption. His songs often incorporate elements of different Latin American genres, including salsa, bolero, and folk music, creating a unique and eclectic style. Blades's influence on Latin music is undeniable, and he has received numerous awards and recognition throughout his career, including several Grammy Awards.

Aside from his music career, Blades has also made a name for himself as an actor, appearing in films such as "The Last Fight," "The Milagro Beanfield War," and "Predator 2." In recent years, he has also become involved in politics, serving as the Minister of Tourism in Panama from 2004 to 2009 and running for the presidency in 2019.

Throughout his career, Blades has remained committed to using his platform to bring attention to social and political issues. He has been a vocal advocate for human rights, environmentalism, and democracy, and has used his music and celebrity status to raise awareness and funds for various causes. 

RUBEN BLADES - Escenas with Linda Ronstadt & Joe Jackson

Thumbnail of RUBEN BLADES - Escenas with Linda Ronstadt & Joe Jackson  album front cover

Latin, Salsa, Latin-Jazz

Rubén Blades' "Escenas" 12" Vinyl LP Album, featuring collaborations with Linda Ronstadt and Joe Jackson, is a timeless masterpiece that transcends musical boundaries. Released during a pivotal time period, this album showcased Blades' eclectic artistry, merging salsa with pop and rock influences. The production excellence and the fusion of diverse musical elements make "Escenas" a significant contribution, reflecting the vibrant cultural tapestry of its era.

Learn more

RUBEN BLADES - Greatest Hits Special 2 Record Set

Thumbnail of RUBEN BLADES - Greatest Hits Special 2 Record Set
 album front cover

Latin, Salsa, Latin-Jazz

Ruben Blades' "Greatest Hits Special 2 Record Set" stands as a timeless musical collection, curated under the meticulous production of Jerry Masucci. Released in 1983, this 12" 2-LP vinyl encapsulates Blades' artistic journey within that era. Each track is a melodic chronicle, offering listeners a vibrant snapshot of Blades' multifaceted talents and significant contributions to the Latin music scene during this pivotal period.

Learn more

RUBEN BLADES - Maestra Vida Primera Parte

Thumbnail of RUBEN BLADES - Maestra Vida Primera Parte album front cover

Latin, Salsa, Latin-Jazz

Ruben Blades' "Maestra Vida: Primera Parte," a groundbreaking Salsa Opera, marked a pivotal moment in music during its release on a 12" Vinyl LP Album. Released within a dynamic time period, the production by Blades showcased innovative storytelling through salsa rhythms. This masterpiece not only elevated Blades' status but also left an indelible imprint on the cultural landscape, blending musical excellence with a narrative that resonated with its era.

Learn more

RUBEN BLADES - Nothing but the Truth ( with Lou Reed )

Thumbnail of RUBEN BLADES - Nothing but the Truth ( with Lou Reed ) album front cover

Latin, Salsa Music, Latin-Jazz

Ruben Blades' "Nothing but the Truth" marks a pivotal moment in Salsa, being his debut English album. Infused with vibrant rhythms, Blades collaborates with iconic musician Lou Reed. The 12" Vinyl LP, produced by Tommy Lipuma, renowned for his work with Diana Krall, showcases a unique fusion of Latin beats and rock influences. This musical endeavor exemplifies Blades' cross-cultural contribution in the context of the time.

Learn more