A Time to
Blades has called his
work "musical journalism" and an "urban chronicle" (from
His lyrics deal with all aspects of Latin culture and often have a
Some of the themes are
not pretty. For example, on the Tiempos
album, the song "20 de diciembre" describes the U.S.
invasion of Panama from a Panamanian perspective, and "Sicarios"
is about a "hit" for the cartel.
However, on the same
album, you get "Aguacero" (Thunderstorm) in which Blades
recalls the hopeful wisdom of his grandmother, and "Creencia"
(Belief), which speaks to the importance of faith. The
title track "Tiempos" (Times), is a thoughtful take on the
Biblical passage "There's a time to live, and a time to
Rubén Blades lives in
New York City and is bilingual, so many of his albums include an
English translation of the Spanish lyrics. Blades also
has an album entirely in English called "Nothing But The
Truth" (1988), which can be a good way to familiarize yourself
with the music and culture if you don't speak much Spanish.
The music of Rubén
Blades can make you jump up and dance, or relax into the gentle
sounds of a love song. But perhaps more importantly, this
music will challenge you to think and feel.
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