Help Decide the Future of Aging. Join the White House’s Live Stream Today. Learn more



Bob Dylan Talks!
Caucasian couple looking at a laptop computer together


Aries - Horóscopo de AARP

Look at what your future holds if your birthday is between March 21 & April 19


AARP Superstar Contest

Help pick AARP’s best singers for a chance to win $5,000.

See Official Rules

Win an ARRP Real Pad Tablet - Tribute to an Ancestor Contest

2015 LIFE@50+ MIAMI

Renew for 3 and attend Life at 50+ for free

Most Popular


Rubén Blades Returns to the Heights

The legendary entertainer brings salsa, Afro-Cuban and world beat sounds to the Shakira generation

Pacing the stage in beatnik black, Blades seemed to take his delivery straight off a Hollywood sound stage—slightly overdone and dramatic. He was in a playful mood for much of the night, dispensing anecdotes on health care, his start in the Fania Records mailroom making $70 a week, and his first major gig at Madison Square Garden, where he forgot the lyrics to his songs.

No such amateurism here. His commanding vocals were like an assuring voice from a long-lost best friend. "Decisiones" became a crowd sing-along as Panamanian and Dominican flags flew. "Buscando Guayaba," the closer "Pedro Navaja" that he introduced with a few verses from "Mack the Knife," and "Todos Vuelven" brought it back full-circle to the streets of New York City, where it all began for Blades.

Blades for All Seasons

Adding a highly literate take to salsa's party anthems and beats, Rubén Blades has been called the Bruce Springsteen of Latin music, as much champion of working people as supreme entertainer. His career took off in 1975, when, after a brief stint with Ray Barretto, he replaced singer Héctor Lavoe in Willie Colón's band. Blades played a major role in salsa's worldwide commercial breakthrough, performing on numerous classic albums with Colón, including Metiendo Mano!, Siembra, and Canciones del Solar de Los Aburridos.

Once he started flying solo in 1982 with his own group, Seis del Solar, his albums stood out as some of the most overtly political works in Latin music. In 2002 Blades' Mundo, with instrumentation that included Scottish bagpipes, won the Grammy for best world music album. After a five-year hiatus while serving as Panama's minister of tourism, Blades officially returned to the stage at the 2009 Latin Grammy Awards in Las Vegas, where his duet with Calle 13 lead singer René Pérez introduced him to a generation of fans weaned on reggaeton and Shakira. His new release, Cantares del Subdesarrollo, is a simplified, low-key affair with Blades playing most of the instruments himself.

His legacy is being preserved at the Rubén Blades Archive at the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library at Harvard University, where Blades earned a law degree. The archive will eventually include a complete collection of albums, liner notes, concert and rehearsal audio and video recordings, sheet music and arrangements, lyrics, translations, photos, mementos, movies, and material from Blades's political career.

You may also like: Johnny Pacheco and Fania All Stars.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Live Nation

Members save 25% or more when buying tickets in groups of four from Ticketmaster.

Cirque Du Soleil

Members save 15-30% on tickets to live Cirque du Soleil shows with their AARP membership card.

Pepperoni Pizza, Papa Johns Superbowl promotion for AARP members

Members save 25% off regular menu price orders at Papa John's.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.