Rubén Blades

Ruben Blades is one the most popular and successful songwriters and vocalists in the history and music of Panamanian salsa and music. Blades, a former member of Ray Barretto’s band, and Willie Colon’s, has influenced salsa music with his politically-tinged lyrics. His modern arrangements, which replace Latin percussion and horn sections with synthesizers, have continued to be influential in salsa music. Blades is often referred to “the Latin Bruce Springsteen” because he was a musical voice for Central America’s middle class. Blades was raised in Panama City’s middle class neighborhood and inherited his musical talent from his parents. Anoland, his mother, emigrated from Cuba and played the piano. She also sang in Spanish. Ruben, Sr. his father was a police detective and he played bongos. Frankie Lymon’s doo-wop singing inspired him.

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