Photo: Ruben Blades
New projects are piling up on the agenda of Ruben Blades, the Panamanian singer, poet, actor, lawyer and politician who continues to take on new challenges - like recording a disc of boleros with Paco de Lucia and acting alongside Robert De Niro in a biopic of boxer Roberto Duran.
“I have more of a past than a future,” Blades said Thursday during an interview with the president of the Latin Grammy Awards, Gabriel Albaroa, as part of the events at the Latin Alternative Music Conference.
But while it’s certain that his past was busy with “intellectual salsa” solo or with Willie Colon, a presidential bid in his homeland and taking a law degree from Harvard, his future looks equally active.
“Everything I dream up and have the chance to record, I’m going to. I’ve already begun,” he told reporters.
Among his foremost musical projects is a disc of boleros with Paco de Lucia on guitar. “It’s something I always wanted to do. I talked to Paco and made it clear that we’re going to do this. He’s a genius, a monster,” he said.
In the movies, another of his passions, he will act this fall with two-time Oscar winner Robert De Niro in the film “Hands of Stone,” the biography of Panamanian boxer Roberto Duran, to be played by Edgar Ramirez. “De Niro will be his trainer Ray Arcel, and I’ll be Duran’s manager,” he said.
Blades, who sold millions of discs with “Siembra” in 1978 together with Colon, is making a new disc of that genre but with the Brazilian vocal group Boca Livre, which will give it an entirely new dimension. Eleven songs in Spanish and eight in Portuguese will round out the album.
Nor can he resist the tango - he has an album awaiting release that was produced by Carlos Franzetti with the Leopoldo Federico tango orchestra. And he’s having another go at rock with a disc about which he has given no further details, besides re-recording many of the hits he recorded under the Fania label.
As if that weren’t enough, he will be seen in the new Ridley Scott film “The Counselor” that will screen this fall in the United States with a cast of “first-class talent. There’s Javier Bardem, John Leguizamo, Rosie Perez...and, oh yes, some other people like Brad Pitt,” he joked.