Blades, Rubén (rōbānˈ bläˈħās) [key], 1948–, Panamanian singer, songwriter, band leader, and actor. He is a graduate (1972) of the Univ. of Panama law school and holds a masters degree (1985) in international law from Harvard. An internationally known performer of many musical forms, Blades is famous for his salsa music, often mingled with African, jazz, rock, and blues elements, and is noted for his performances with Willie Colón, notably Siembra (1978), and Ray Barretto. He often imbues his songs with sociopolitical awareness. His albums include Escenas (1985; Grammy Award), Aqua de Luna (1987), and Nothing but the Truth (1988). He made his acting debut in the early 1980s and has appeared in such movies as Crossover Dreams (1985), The Milagro Beanfield War (1988), Mo' Better Blues (1990), Cradle Will Rock (1999), and All the Pretty Horses (2000) and in several television dramas. Blades ran for president of Panama in 1994 but came in third after leading briefly in early polls.
See biographies by B. A. Marton (1992) and B. C. Cruz (1997).
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