Rubén Blades

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about the artist

Latin Music icon Rubén Blades was at the center of the New York Salsa revolution in the 1970s. His landmark albums in classic Afro-Cuban salsa are touched with rock, jazz, pan-Latin, and worldwide influences. Blades has collaborated with rock, jazz, pop, hip-hop, reggaeton, and salsa artists, and has composed hundreds of songs and dozens of hits, known for their eloquent, socially charged lyrics, colorful characters, and memorable melodies. His 2017 album Salsa Big Band was awarded the Latin Grammy Album of the Year, and in 2021 the Latin Recording Academy named him Person of the Year, and was awarded, again,More

Latin Music icon Rubén Blades was at the center of the New York Salsa revolution in the 1970s. His landmark albums in classic Afro-Cuban salsa are touched with rock, jazz, pan-Latin, and worldwide influences. Blades has collaborated with rock, jazz, pop, hip-hop, reggaeton, and salsa artists, and has composed hundreds of songs and dozens of hits, known for their eloquent, socially charged lyrics, colorful characters, and memorable melodies. His 2017 album Salsa Big Band was awarded the Latin Grammy Album of the Year, and in 2021 the Latin Recording Academy named him Person of the Year, and was awarded, again, the Latin Grammy Album of the Year and the Latin Grammy Best Salsa Album.

He is the subject of the 2018 award-winning documentary Yo No Me Llamo Rubén Blades directed by Abner Benaim. He has won 12 Grammy and 10 Latin Grammy Awards, and this year he returns to star in the AMC television series Fear the Walking Dead. His role in the show has earned him a nomination for Best Supporting Actor Imagen Award.

He has starred in Hands of Stone opposite Robert De Niro, and in Safe House opposite Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds. Blades has played memorable roles in films with such acclaimed directors as Robert Redford in The Milagro Beanfield War, Robert Rodriguez in Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Spike Lee in Mo' Better Blues, Alan Pakula in The Devil's Own, and Jack Nicholson in The Two Jakes. He was nominated for three Emmys for his roles in the television movies The Josephine Baker Story, Crazy From The Heart, and The Maldonado Miracle. His work has been honored with Cable ACE, Independent Spirit, and ALMA Awards, and honored with the Raúl Juliá HOLA Founders Award and the Hispanic Heritage Foundation's Arts Award.

Beyond Blades' artistic success, he holds degrees in political science and law from the University of Panama, and an LLM from Harvard Graduate Law School. He ran for President of his native Panama in 1994 and served as Minister of Tourism 2004-2009. The Loeb Music Library at Harvard University formed The Rubén Blades Archives in 2008 to collect his work and papers. New York University Steinhardt appointed him Scholar in Residence for the 2018/2019 academic year.

In 2021 Blades, with Panama's Roberto Delgado Orchestra, released SALSWING! (Latin Grammy Best Album of the Year 2021; and Grammy Best Tropical Latin Album 2022), offering up both salsa and jazz tracks, as well as SALSA PLUS! (Latin Grammy Best Salsa Album 2021) with salsa tracks, and SWING! with jazz tracks, for genre purists.

In 2022 Blades, with the Brazilian Vocal Group ¨Boca Livre¨, released two albums, ¨Parceiros¨ and ¨Pasieros¨ (Best Latin Pop Album, Grammy Award 2023), a selection of Blades songs arranged with brazilian rhythms and harmonies, the former with Portuguese versions and the latter with Spanish versions.

In 2023 Ruben Blades and the Delgado Big Band will return to touring in the U.S., Latin America and Europe, with Salswing Tour!

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