Rubén Blades

Buscando América

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From the first note of Buscando América, Rubén Blades, with his suitcase and guitar in hand, bids farewell to the world of meat-and-potatoes New York salsa and sets in search of something else. Though many of the tracks eventually find their way back to that driving coro that has become a hallmark of Blades' writing, there are elements present in this project that signify Blades' departure from the mainstream, to which he will never completely return. From doo wop intros ("Decisiones") to a cappella rhumbas ("GDBD") to epic rock sounds ("Caminos Verdes"), there's more than a little experimentation going on in this project. Piano/keyboard player and arranger Oscar Hernandez of Seis del Solar, Ruben's backup band for most of the '80s, brings a sophistication and style to the arrangements that contributes much to the album's fresh voice. No matter how diverse his musical influences, Blades' subject material is consistent throughout. Though themes of empowerment for the poor and the sociopolitical challenges faced by the Latin American community have always been present in his work, Buscando América seems to mark the beginning of Blades' longterm commitment to the subject. Blades' first album away from the Fania label is a bold statement in many ways, but none more bold than the standard that it sets for the future.

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