July 16, 1948
Panama City, Panamá, Panama
Rubén Blades (born July 16, 1948) is a Panamanian salsa singer, songwriter, actor and politician. As songwriter, Blades brought the lyrical sophistication of South American nueva canción and Cuban nueva trova to salsa, creating thinking persons' dance music. He remains wildly popular in that country and much admired throughout Latin America, and he managed to attract 20% 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. Blades is completely bilingual, working both in English and Spanish.