Ruben Blades was born on July 16, 1948 in Panama City, Panama. A Singer-songwriter, actor and lawyer, with more than 50 years in the music business he has composed hundreds of songs and dozens of hits known for their eloquent, politically aware lyrics, colorful characters, and memorable melodies. Blades has made landmark albums in classic Afro-Cuban salsa as well as Afro-Cuban music with hints of rock, jazz and other influences from around the world. As a musician he has won 10 Grammys and sold more than 30 million records. Blades successfully resumed his facets of musician and actor (over 40 films), confirming why he is considered a living legend and one of Latin America’s most influential figures.
Beyond his artistic success, Blades has always had an eye for political activism. In 1994 he ran for president of his native Panama and in 2004 he stepped out of the spotlight for five years to work as Minister of Tourism in his homeland.
He holds degrees in law from the University of Panama as well as Harvard Law School. He has received Honorary Doctorate degrees from Berklee College of Music in Boston, Berkeley University in California and Lehman College in the Bronx. His work has crossed geopolitical borders, cultures, and genres and has made an impact throughout the world. He was named U.N. World Ambassador Against Racism and The Loeb Music Library at Harvard University recently created The Rubén Blades Archives with the purpose of collecting his work and papers.
Recently Blades officially announced his Farewell Tour, which starts in 2015 followed by his return to the political journey.