16 Juillet 1948 (âge 69)
Rubén Blades was born in a rooming house in a small country, but he refused to see limitations or barriers; his work has crossed geopolitical borders, cultures, and genres and made an impact throughout the world.
As a musician he has won 7 Grammys, including one in the World Music category. As an actor he has won a Cable ACE Award and received Emmy, Independent Spirit, and ALMA nominations. ASCAP honored him with its Founders Award and the Grammy Recording Academy with its Heroes Award.
Blades has made landmark albums in classic Afro-Cuban salsa as well as Afro-Cuban music touched with rock, jazz, pan-Latin, and other influences from around the world. He has collaborated with rock, jazz, pop, hip-hop, reggaeton, and salsa artists. He has composed hundreds of songs and dozens of hits known for their eloquent, politically-aware lyrics, colorful characters, and memorable melodies.
Beyond his artistic success, Blades has always had an eye for political activism. In 1994 he formed a political party, Movimiento Papa Egoró (“Mother Earth” in the indigenous Embera language), and ran for president of his native Panama.
He holds degrees in law from the University of Panama and Harvard Law School. He has received an Honorary Doctorate degree from the Berklee College of Music, and was named U.N. World Ambassador Against Racism in 2000. In 2006 the president of Chile awarded him the Pablo Neruda Order of Cultural Merit, and in 2010 the president of Ecuador honored him with their Orden Nacional al Mérito Cultural.
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