Willie Colón & Rubén Blades

Willie Colón & Rubén Blades

Puerto Rican and Panamanian salsa legends based in New York City

Armando Bellmas

Today on Ecléctico you're listening to two giants of salsa, Willie Colón and Rubén Blades. Their collaboration is legendary, with this album, Siembra, being their most popular and critically acclaimed. Trombonist, singer, composer, and bandleader Colón was born in the Bronx to Puerto Rican parents and worked with some of the best singers in salsa and Latin music, including Blades and Hector Lavoe. Blades had been working as a songwriter at Fania Records in New York City when he met Colón.


"Pedro Navaja" by Willie Colón & Rubén Blades
1978 | Puerto Rican and Panamanian salsa legends based in New York City


Go deeper with an excerpt from and a link to a podcast (and transcription) featuring Rubén Blades talking about his creative process and writing this song:

Willie Colón and I were summoned to the presence of Jerry Masucci, who was the head of Fania Records, the biggest salsa label in the world. When we walked into the office, there were three other people in there. I didn’t know who they were, and they turned out to be the three top DJs of New York. And they played the record, and when it was over the three DJs said, this is the worst album we’ve ever heard. The songs were depressing. The songs were too long, especially that song about that man and that woman. People don’t care about those things, they don’t wanna hear that. And one of them said to Masucci, “If you release this record, this will be the commercial death of Willie Colón.”

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