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SALSWING!, Rubén Blades con Roberto Delgado y Orquesta

Latin Music icon Rubén Blades was at the center of the New York Salsa revolution in the 1970’s.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 named the Latin Grammy Album of the Year. He is the subject of the 2018 award-winning documentary Yo No Me Llamo Rubén Blades directed by Abner Benaim. He has won 17 Grammy and Latin Grammy Awards, and this year returns to star in the AMC television series Fear the Walking Dead.

Upcoming album projects include an album of boleros with the Editus group, a production with his songs adapted to Brazilian music with Boca Livre, and the album Salsa Big Band Vol.II with Roberto Delgado.

He has appeared in Hands Of Stoneopposite 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. New York University Steinhardt appointed him Scholar in Residence for the 2018/2019 academic year. The Loeb Music Library at Harvard University formed The Rubén Blades Archives in 2008 to collect his work and papers.

SALSWING!, Rubén Blades con Roberto Delgado y Orquesta

SALWSING! as an album has different purposes. One, to present the Roberto Delgado Orchestra as an outfit capable of expanding its original Panamanian roots to cover other musical genres. Another, to present my interest in exploring other vocal directions and thus eliminate the stereotype that affirms that we are conditioned to only exist artistically within specific boundaries, according to our nationality. Perhaps the most important point is to exemplify that, as artists, we address our music to the world, not just to a specific segment of its population. The concept MIXTURA exposes the hope that people will accept music, no matter what the genre is, provided it is done with quality and professionalism. All albums today limit themselves to a specific musical direction, to fill a specific market niche. It is an economic imperative, not an artistic one. SALSWING! promotes the possibility of changing the divisions brought on by these financial considerations, forcing creators to limit their output to one direction when producing. SALSWING! instead creates an album with songs representing not one but TWO musical genres, Salsa and Jazz, executed by the same group of players and directed to music lovers in general, not to a specific type of listeners. Understanding that some people at first may have a problem with this concept of MIXTURA, we have also created separate editions emphasizing genres: one is titled, SALSA PLUS!, presenting Afro-Cuban tunes, added with a couple of Swing examples, and the other, SWING! with Jazz songs complemented with a couple of Salsa tunes whose arrangements are very reminiscent of the swing era itself.When people ask me what kind of a musician I am, I just stare at them. When they ask me what do I play, my answer is: Music!

Thank you for listening,

Ruben Blades
March 29, 2021
New York

Released April 16, 2021

Episode # 282

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