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Willie Colón & Rubén Blades

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New York, United States (1977 – 1982, 1995 – 1995)

Willie Colón (born 28 April 1950) is a Nuyorican salsa musician. Primarily a trombonist, Colón also sings, writes, produces and acts. He is also involved in municipal politics in New York City.

Rubén Blades (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 as well as experimental tempos and political inspired Nuyorican salsa to his music, creating thinking persons’ (salsa) dance music. Blades has composed dozens of musical hits, the most famous of which is “Pedro Navaja,” a song about a neighborhood thug who appears to die during a robbery (his song “Sorpresas” continues the story), inspired by “Mack the Knife.” He also composed and sings what many Panamanians consider their second national anthem. The song is titled “Patria” (Fatherland).

He is an icon in Panama and is much admired throughout Latin America, and 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 for a five-year term. He holds a law degree from the University of Panama and a master’s in international law from Harvard University.

Collaborations between Colón and Blades were recorded in New York. They recorded albums together from 1977 to 1982, although the two briefly reuinted for the album Tras la tormenta in 1995.

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