Panama’s native son Ruben Blades has been writing and singing odes to social issues since he started making music. Whether an ode to the working man, the history of immigration or realities colonization Blades tackles it.
The Harvard educated lawyer made his way from Panama to New York city to work as a mail clerk at Fania records. It got his foot in the door and sound on wax. He turned salsa into thinking man’s music making people dance and consider the world around them. Songs like “Plastico” and “Pedro Navaja” illuminate that. In the mid 1990s he even ran for President of Panama but lost. Blades later became Panama’s minister of tourism making economic change in his homeland. Since then he continues to make political statements through his music, acting and has considered running for Panama’s presidency again.