Rubén Blades

Maestra Vida: Segunda Parte

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The second volume in a two-part epic produced by Rubén Blades and Willie Colón, Maestra Vida: Segunda Parte continues the story of Carmelo and Manuela, a couple whose story had been introduced in Maestra Vida: Primera Parte. Through a long "Epílogo" that begins the album, listeners learn that time has passed, and Carmelo and Manuela's son, Ramiro, has grown and rejected his parents. As before, Colón's musical ideas are grand and sweeping, even if it's difficult to keep salsa fans interested. And Blades' vision for musical drama is clear (the opera was eventually mounted in 1997). The ultimate summation of Blades' dramatic vision with Colón's expressive musical abilities, Maestra Vida is ambitious, freewheeling, and celebratory -- not an immediate success, but a rewarding listen for those who've heard the six-minute snapshots from Blades' earlier recordings and want to hear the full-length treatment.

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