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Ruben Blades: Live at NJPAC

Report on performance by noted Panamanian singer/songwriter at NewJersey Performing Arts Center on Friday November 4th, 2011

Panamanian singer Ruben Blades is a beautiful artist who brings soul and incredible musicality to the forefront when on stage. His show of last week at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, “The Musical Chronicles of Ruben Blades,” was a series of very well performed songs mixed with social and political comments. “Today is our flag day,” declared Blades. Indeed, the show was on Friday November 4, the day following Panama’s Independence Day. The show was a story told through “mini stories,” namely the songs (some were his compositions, others important salsa songs) he interpreted, and mini “spoken” stories he told his audience about Panama, the United States, and his own life. Blades brings on stage with him parts of the Panamanian history and a tasteful salsa flavor.

The audience, for the most part Hispanic, was ready for Blades. The band (a keyboardist, a bass player, a conga player who also sang, a trombone player, another trombone player-bass trombone, a drummer who also played various percussions, a trumpet player who also played a sort of conga, a percussionist and another keyboardist) was extremely punctual. The show was scheduled to start at 8pm and finish at 10pm, and this is pretty much what happened.

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