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James Sellman

Rubén Blades is one of the creators of the Latin musical style known as Salsa, which blends various traditions of Afro-Caribbean—particularly Afro-Cuban—dance music. He first gained recognition while singing with Willie Colón and the Fania All-Stars (1976–1981). In 1978 Blades and Colón recorded the breakthrough album Siembra; after two decades, it remains the best-selling salsa album. Since that time, his recordings have enjoyed great success and have broadened the popularity of salsa, bringing Afro-Caribbean dance rhythms not only to Spanish-speaking listeners but also to a large English-speaking and international audience.

During the late 1960s and 1970s, Fania Records and other recording companies of New York City popularized the term salsa as a catchier alternative to the labels Afro Cuban or Afro Caribbean Dance Music Salsa draws from the musical traditions of those who settled the Caribbean basin making particular use of the styles and instruments ...


was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico, on 1 February 1972. His parents were Dr. Esteban Calderón Ilarraza and Pilar Rosario Parrilla, a schoolteacher. He spent his childhood in Rio Grande, Carolina, and Loíza, towns on the northern part of the island that have retained the influence of Afro-Caribbean cultures.

Calderón grew up absorbing the musical influences of Ismael Rivera (“El Sonero Mayor”), one of the best singers of salsa music, and El Gran Combo, the most traditional established salsa group in Puerto Rico. During the 1970s, salsa was as its peak in popularity, and Latin jazz was beginning to develop a massive following. Willie Colón, Rubén Baldes, Héctor Lavoe, the great composer Catalino “Tite” Curet Alonso, and the Fania All-Stars were some of the premier acts in the salsa genre.

Calderón moved to Miami in the 1980s and completed his high school degree at Beach Senior High In Miami ...