Sunday, December 23, 2007

Ruben Blades - Amor y Control

From: surquiyo

Rubén Blades Bellido de Luna (Wikipedia)(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 to salsa, creating thinking persons' dance music.

Blades has composed dozens of musical hits, the most famous of which is "Pedro Navaja", a song about a neighborhood thug whose day to die has come, inspired by "Mack the Knife".

He remains wildly popular in Panama and much admired throughout Latin America, and he managed to attract 18% of the vote in his failed attempt to win the Panamanian presidency in 1994. In September 2004, he was appointed minister of tourism by Panamanian president Martín Torrijos. He holds law degrees from the University of Panama and Harvard School of Law.

Blades is an anglosaxon surname, but as many other names the mispronunciation in Spanish became widely used. His surname is either pronounced in its original English form or using Spanish phonemes; his family uses the English pronunciation.

Blades's father Rubén was a percussionist-turned-detective and his mother Anoland was a singer and pianist. Her great-uncle Juan Bellido de Luna was active in the Cuban revolutionary movement against Spain and was later a pro-US writer and publisher in NY. Blades' father's father, Reuben Blades, was an English-speaking native of St. Lucia who came to work on the Panama Canal, as he tells in the song West Indian Man on the album Amor y Control ("That's where the Blades comes from.") (1992)

Blades' early days have him as a singer in Los Salvajes del Ritmo with fellow University students, and also as a songwriter and guest singer with a professional Latin music conjunto Bush y sus Magnificos. His strongest influence of the day was the Joe Cuba sextet and Cheo Feliciano, whose singing style he copied to the point of imitating his voice tone and vocal range.

Blades earned degrees in political science and law at Panama's Universidad Nacional, performing legal work at the Bank of Panama as a law student. Upon his graduation in 1974, Blades moved to the United States, staying temporarily with his exiled parents in Miami before moving to New York City.

Blades began his formal musical career in New York writing songs while working in the mailroom at Fania Records, perceived as a talented songwriter who still had to develop a singing style of his own. The proverbial mailroom job was a good opportunity to stay close to the company until the right opportunity came along. Soon Blades was working with salseros Ray Barretto and Larry Harlow. Shortly thereafter Blades started collaborating with trombonist and band leader Willie Colón, and they recorded several albums together, and participated in albums by plena singer Mon Rivera and the Fania All Stars.

Blades' first notable hit was a song on the 1977 album Metiendo Mano which he had composed in 1968, "Pablo Pueblo", a meditation about a working class father who returns to his home after a long day at work. The song later became his unofficial campaign song when he ran for president of Panama. The Colón and Blades recording on the same album of Tite Curet Alonso's composition "Plantación Adentro", which dealt with the brutal treatment of Indian natives in Latin Americas' colonial times, was an enormous hit in various Caribbean countries. He wrote and performed several songs with the Fania All Stars and as guests on other artists' releases, including the hits "Paula C", written about an estranged girlfriend at the time, "Juan Pachanga" about a party animal who buries his pain for a lost love in dance and drink, and "Sin Tu Cariño", a love song, featuring a bomba break. The latter two songs feature piano solos by Papo Lucca.

The Colón and Blades album Siembra (1978) became the best-selling salsa record in history. It has sold over 25 million copies, and almost all of its songs were hits at one time or another in various Latin American countries.

Blades became dissatisfied with Fania and tried to terminate his contract, but was contractually obliged to record several more albums. With the exception of Maestra Vida, which could be considered the first Latin American opera, and its follow-up Canciones del Solar de los Aburridos, these are forgettable. In 1984 Blades signed with Elektra, and assembled a top-notch band (known variously as Seis Del Solar or Son Del Solar) and recorded a number of albums with them including the Grammy winning albums "Escenas" and "Antecedente." Fania continued to release recordings compiled from their archives for some years afterwards.

In 1982, Blades got his first acting role in The Last Fight portraying a singer-turned-boxer vying for a championship against a fighter who was played by real life world champion boxer Salvador Sánchez. In 1985, Blades gained widespread recognition as co-writer and star of the independent film Crossover Dreams as a New York salsa singer willing to do anything to break into the mainstream. Blades also began his career in films as a composer of soundtracks.

Also in 1985 he earned a master's degree in International Law from Harvard University School of Law. He was also the subject of Robert Mugge's documentary The Return of Ruben Blades, which debuted at that year's Denver Film Festival.

During the 1990s, he acted in films and continued to make records with Seis/Son del Solar. In 1994 he mounted his unsuccessful presidential bid, founding the party Movimiento Papa Egoró. The album which followed this experience was "La Rosa de los Vientos" with songs by other Panamanian songwriters, using all Panamanian musicians.

In 1997, Blades headed the cast of singer/songwriter Paul Simon's first Broadway musical, The Capeman, based on a true story about a violent youth who becomes a poet in prison, which also starred Marc Anthony and Ednita Nazario.

His many film appearances include The Milagro Beanfield War (1988), The Two Jakes (1990), Mo' Better Blues (1990), Color of Night (1994), and Devil's Own (1997). In 1999, he played Mexican artist Diego Rivera in Tim Robbins' Cradle Will Rock. In the 2003 film Once Upon a Time in Mexico, starring Johnny Depp, Antonio Banderas, and Willem Dafoe, he played the role of a retired FBI agent.

Performing in New Haven CT in 2002.Blades' 1999 album Tiempos which he recorded with musicians from the Costa Rican groups Editus and Sexteto de Jazz Latino, represented a break from his salsa past and a further rejection of commercial trends in Latin music. Ironically, the album won a Grammy in the Latin Pop category. Even more eclectic was the 2002 album Mundo with the 11-member Editus Ensemble with bagpiper Eric Rigler.

It has been said that releasing an English-language album in 1988 was a mistake, but in fact, he tends to avoid commercial choices and ignore conventional wisdom. After winning his first Grammy for Escenas in 1986 he recorded the album Agua de Luna based on the short stories of Gabriel García Márquez in 1987. The next year he released the English language collaboration with rock artists Sting, Elvis Costello, and Lou Reed the same year as Antecedente, another Grammy winner. In 2003 he followed the World Music Grammy and Latin Grammy winner Mundo with a web site free download project. As he said in 2005 when receiving the ASCAP Founders Award about his non-commercial choices, "That's the way I think."

Blades is the personification, or at least the [Latin] American version, of the Renaissance man, and has continually strived to sharpen his skills (which are considerable), and to keep on the cutting edge of music. He has recorded with numerous up-and-coming younger artists in both supportive and feature roles.

In 2004 he put his artistic careers on hold when he began serving a five year appointment as Minister of Tourism of Panama.

Beginning in June 2007, however, Blades turned some of his attention back to his artistic career, presenting an 'online tv show' titled "Show de Ruben Blades (SDRB)" on his website

Contents [hide]
1 Discography
2 Filmography
3 External links

[edit] Discography
A Las Seis - con Los Salvajes Del Ritmo - Panamanian conjunto band
From Panama to New York (1970) - Rubén Blades & la Orquesta de Pete Rodriguez
Barretto - with Ray Barretto orchestra (1975)
La Raza Latina - Salsa Suite with Lary Harlow and his orchestra Harlow (1977)
Fania All Stars Tribute To Tito Rodríguez (1976)
Metiendo Mano (1977) - Rubén Blades & Willie Colón
Fania All Stars Spanish Fever (1978)
Siembra (1978) - Rubén Blades & Willie Colón
Fania All Stars Crossover (1979)
Bohemio y Poeta (1979) - Rubén Blades (Fania compilation)
Maestra Vida: Primera Parte (1980) - Rubén Blades (produced by Willie Colon)
Maestra Vida: Segunda Parte (1980) - Rubén Blades (produced by Willie Colon)
Fania All Stars Commitment (1980)
Canciones Del Solar De Los Aburridos (1981) - Rubén Blades & Willie Colón
The Last Fight (1982) - Rubén Blades & Willie Colon
El Que La Hace La Paga (1983) - Rubén Blades
Buscando América (1984) - Rubén Blades & Seis del Solar
Mucho Mejor (1984) - Rubén Blades
Crossover Dreams (1985) soundtrack
Escenas (1985) - Rubén Blades y Seis de Solar
Doble Filo (1986) - Rubén Blades
Agua de Luna (1987) - Rubén Blades y Seis del Solar
Antecedente (1988) - Rubén Blades
Nothing But the Truth (1988 - Rubén Blades
With Strings (1988) Rubén Blades
Live! (1990) Rubén Blades y Son del Solar
Caminando (1991) - Rubén Blades y Son del Solar
Best of Ruben Blades (1992) - Rubén Blades (Fania compilation)
Amor Y Control (1992) - Rubén Blades y Son Del Solar
Poetry: The Greatest Hits (1993) - Rubén Blades (Fania compilation)
Poeta Latina (1993) - Rubén Blades (UK Fania compilation)
Mucho Mejor [Westwind] (1995) - Rubén Blades
Tras La Tormenta (1995]]) Rubén Blades & Willie Colon
La Rosa de Los Vientos (1996) - Rubén Blades
Greatest Hits (Rubén Blades album) (1996) - Rubén Blades y Seis del Solar (Elektra compilation)
Sus Más Grandes Exitos (1998) - Rubén Blades ( Fania compilation)
Tiempos (1999) - Rubén Blades y Editus
Sembra Y Otros Favoritos Salsa Para Siempre (2001) - Rubén Blades & Willie Colon (Fania compilation)
Best (2001) - Rubén Blades (Fania compilation)
Salsa Caliente De Nu York (2002) - Rubén Blades (Fania compilation)
Mundo (2002) - Rubén Blades y Editus Ensemble (2003) Rubén Blades etc (download project)
Una Decada (2003) - Rubén Blades (Sony compilation)
Experencia Ruben Blades (2004) - Rubén Blades (Fania compilation)
Lo Mejor, Vol. 1 (2004) - Rubén Blades (Fania compilation, import as O Melhor Vol. 1)
Lo Mejor, Vol. 2 (2004) - Rubén Blades (Fania compilation, import as O Melhor Vol. 2)
Across 110th St. (2004) - Spanish Harlem Orchestra featuring Rubén Blades
Maestro de la Fania (2005) - Rubén Blades (Fania compilation)

The Last Fight (1983) - Andy 'Kid Clave'
The Return of Ruben Blades (1985) - himself
Crossover Dreams (1985) - Rudy Veloz
Critical Condition (1987) - Louis
Fatal Beauty (1987) - Carl Jimenez
The Milagro Beanfield War (1988) - Sheriff Bernabe Montoya
Homeboy (1988) - Doctor
Dead Man Out (1989) (TV) - Ben
Disorganized Crime (1989) - Carlos Barrios
Heart of the Deal (1990)
Mo' Better Blues (1990) - Petey
The Two Jakes (1990) - Mickey Nice aka Michael Weisskoph
The Lemon Sisters (1990) - C.W
Predator 2 (1990) (as Ruben Blades) - Danny Archuleta
The Josephine Baker Story (1991) (TV) - Count Giuseppe Pepito Abatino
One Man's War (1991) (TV) - Perrone
Crazy from the Heart (1991) (TV) - Ernesto Ontiveros
The Super (1991) - Marlon
Miracle on Interstate 880 (1993) (TV) - Pastor Beruman
Life with Mikey (1993) (uncredited) - Angie's Dad
A Million to Juan (1994) - Bartender
Color of Night (1994) - Lt. Hector Martinez
Joseph & His Brothers (1993) - Rubén Blades & Strunz & Farah (narrator of animation video)
Scorpion Spring (1996) - Border Patrolman Sam Zaragosa
The Devil's Own (1997) - Edwin Diaz
Chinese Box (1997) - Jim
Cradle Will Rock (1999) - Diego Rivera
Gideon's Crossing (2000) TV Series - Dr. Max Cabranes
All the Pretty Horses (2000) - Hector de la Rocha
Assassination Tango (2002) - Miguel
The Maldonado Miracle (2003) (TV) - Cruz
Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003) - Jorge FBI
Imagining Argentina (2003) - Silvio Ayala
Spin (2003) - Ernesto Bejarano
Secuestro express (2004) - Carla's Father

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