Blade slices salsa at the James L. Knight Center this Saturday | Miami New Times

Fundación Chile

Fundación Chile

There are few artists in Latin music - or in any genre, for that matter - the prolific and ubiquitously talented Rubén Blades. He's a singer and a songwriter. He's an actor. He's even a lawyer and a politician. And if that sounds like exaggeration, check out his page for references to movies such as Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Color of Night, The Devil's Own, and One Man's War . Check his discography for a score of records that have been hits. And check with the Panamanian Board of Tourism to see who the minister is.

But music has always been and will always be for which Blades is best known. The man is a living legend in that arena, and for good reason. From the time he first appeared in the early '70s, his ass-shaking, hip-breaking, Nuyorican-style salsa has enchanted fans. And though it was cut from the same cloth of that other heavyweights of the time, such as Héctor Lavoe, Willie Colón, and the Fania All-Stars, Blades's music has always contained that little extra je ne sais quoi. At eleven cerebral and poetic, his lyrics read like prose that seeks to challenge while simultaneously reveling in the beauty of language. The Panamanian-born singer began his music career with Fania Records, which launched not only him but also a large number of salsa greats, including the aforementioned as well as the incomparable Celia Cruz. Blades eventually parted ways with Fania, but his career has remained robust thanks to myriad of hits, including the salsa classic "Pedro Navaja," inspired by Kurt Weill's "Mack the Knife."

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Info

Saturday, November 21. James L. Knight Center, 400 SE Second Ave., Miami. Show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $ 62 to $ 123; ticketmaster.com