The Latin Grammys surrender to Rubén Blades, the “poet of salsa”

Rubén Blades, poet, teacher and renovator of salsa, received last night a heartfelt tribute from the Latin Recording Academy, which named the Panamanian Person of the Year for his extensive professional career and his “continuous defense of human rights “.

“Success tastes like pain, sweat, hope and tears. Many times it tastes like shit and even if it creates fame, poor man who decides to live in it,” said the musician, actor and activist when thanking the tribute.

The gala, organized in Las Vegas (USA) one day before the Latin Grammys are awarded, featured performances by artists as varied as Carlos Vives, Marc Anthony, Andrés Calamaro, Rozalén, Diego Torres and Christina Aguilera.

All of them brought to their field the most outstanding songs from the extensive discography of Blades, one of the most admired and prolific composers in Latin America.

Among the musical appearances, Aguilera opened the gala with a version of “Camaleón” in which she wore her jet of voice; Farruko showed that “Amor y Control” fit the urban rhythms and Rozalén, María Toledo and Beatriz Luengo surprised with a flamenco version of “El Padre Antonio y El Monaguillo Andrés”.

There was also a place for Caribbean and tropical rhythms by the hand of Oscar D’Leon with “Looking Guayaba”, Carlos Vives with “Decisiones” and Marc Anthony with “Patria”.

“Thank you all very much, I thought it was excellent, this has been very emotional and I am very grateful,” said the Panamanian and then dedicate the tribute to his country.

Before, the invited artists did not hesitate to interrupt the script of the ceremony to dedicate words of admiration to Blades.

Among the most emotional speeches was that of Joaquín Sabina, who came to the stage to read a letter that he introduced, making it clear that it was not easy “to find words at the height of his talent and admiration.”

“We are facing one of those guys who are born once every century and what a blessing,” he said before the attentive gaze of Blades, who did not expect the appearance of the Spanish in his tribute.

Sabina stressed that Blades, in addition to being the owner of “exemplary conduct”, was able to renew neighborhood music “that served to dance” and elevate it “to the top of the fine arts.”

“Gabo (Gabriel García Márquez) once told me that he would change having written his ‘100 years of Soledad’ for having written ‘Pedro Navaja’, he recalled.

Sabina’s praise came after the speech starred by René Perez, from Residente: “You are my mentor, my teacher and friend. Like a father to me,” promised the musician.

Farruko, for his part, remembered through tears his family bond with the music of the honoree: “This song marked my life in 2002, I went with my grandfather to shop, he took his own life and this song is the one that he always played “, said after interpreting” Love and Control “.

Others, such as Carlos Vives, applauded Blades’ contribution to the Latin “identity”, something that Beatriz Luengo underlined when emphasizing that she “as a Spaniard” could “imagine Latin America thanks to her music.”

Andrés Calamaro highlighted that the album “Siembra” (considered the best salsa album) “opened the doors” to the world of salsa and Jorge Drexler described Blades as a “blessing for Latin music.”

Born on July 16, 1948 in Panama, Blades, in addition to being an emblematic figure in the salsa revolution of the 70s in New York, has collaborated with rock, jazz, pop, hip-hop and reggaeton artists, among other genres. musicals.

During his career he has been the winner of eight Latin Grammy Awards, as well as nine Grammys.

As an actor, he was Emmy nominated and has starred in more than 50 movies and television series in English and Spanish, including his acclaimed role as Daniel Salazar on AMC’s award-winning series “Fear The Walking Dead.”

As a result of his interest in politics, in 1994 he participated in the presidential elections in Panama.

However, after the applause, Blades rejected the popularity – “fame is a place that you visit, not a home and whoever does not understand it will lose their life” – and took the opportunity to thank all those who have contributed to its success, from his family, his school teachers and musicians who have accompanied him in his career.

“They asked me at the entrance what I had left to do, and I said everything,” he settled. “I’m not afraid of time, just indifference.”

Before Blades were Person of the Year: Juanes (2019), Maná (2018), Alejandro Sanz (2017), Marc Anthony (2016), Roberto Carlos (2015), Joan Manuel Serrat (2014) and Miguel Bosé (2013).

Caetano Veloso (2012), Shakira (2011), Plácido Domingo (2010), Juan Gabriel (2009), Gloria Estefan (2008), Juan Luis Guerra (2007), Ricky Martin (2006), José José (2005) also received this tribute. ), Carlos Santana (2004), Gilberto Gil (2003), Vicente Fernández (2002), Julio Iglesias (2001) and Emilio Estefan (2000).