RUBEN BLADES BIO

Rubén Blades is an artist whose work spans many media and arenas. He currently stars in the AMC television series
Fear the Walking Dead, and was recently seen starring in Hands Of Stone opposite Robert De Niro, Edgar Ramirez and John Turturro, and in Ridley Scott’s The Counselor, opposite Michael Fassbender.

Blades has played memorable roles in films with such acclaimed directors and talent as Robert Redford in The Milagro Beanfield War, Robert Rodriguez in Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Spike Lee in Mo’ Better Blues, Alan Pakula in The Devil’s Own, and Jack Nicholson in The Two Jakes. He was also seen in Safe House opposite Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds. Blades was nominated for three Emmys for his roles in the television movies The Josephine Baker Story, Crazy From The Heart, and The Maldonado Miracle. His work in over 35 films and documentaries also won Blades a Cable ACE Award, plus Independent Spirit and ALMA Awards. The Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors honored him with its Raúl Juliá HOLA Founders Award, and the Hispanic Heritage Foundation honored him with its Arts Award.

In addition to his film work, Blades is a composer and vocalist, and one of the most successful artists in the history of Latin music. His 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 have won 17 Grammy & Latin Grammy Awards, including one in the World Music category. His 2017 album Salsa Big Band was named the Latin Grammy Album of the Year. Blades has collaborated with rock, jazz, pop, hip-hop, reggaeton, and salsa artists, and has composed hundreds of songs and dozens of hits, known for their eloquent, politically-aware lyrics, colorful characters, and memorable melodies. ASCAP honored him with its Founders Award, and the Grammy Recording Academy with its Heroes Award.

Beyond Blades’ artistic success, he holds degrees in political science and law from the University of Panama, and an LLM from Harvard Graduate Law School. The Loeb Music Library at Harvard University formed The Rubén Blades Archives in 2009 with the purpose of collecting his work and papers. He has received Honorary Doctorate degrees from Berkeley University in California (Chicano Studies), Lehman College in the Bronx (Humanities) and the Berklee College of Music in Boston (Music).

In 2006 the president of Chile awarded Blades the Pablo Neruda Order of Cultural Merit, and in 2010 the president of Ecuador honored him with their Orden Nacional al Mérito Cultural.

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 the Republic of Panama, coming in third place with 18% of the vote. In 2000 Blades was named U.N. World Ambassador Against Racism in 2000. He epitomizes a true Renaissance man.

Rubén has been recently named Visiting Scholar at New York University and has begun a series of meetings with students there.

Grammy Awards

Discography

Filmography

OPinion Articles by Rubén Blades La Esquina de Rubén