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Rubén Blades Visits Loeb Music Library

Ruben Blades

Musician, actor and social activist Rubén Blades visited Loeb Music Library on Thursday, July 16. The library is the home of the Rubén Blades Archive, which includes Blades' recordings, books, movies
and material related to his political career.

July 17, 2009 – When completed, the Rubén Blades Archive at the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library will be a valuable resource for students and scholars studying Latin American music. On Thursday, July 16, the burgeoning collection received a visit from its namesake, musician, actor and social activist Rubén Blades.

Blades toured through the library, examined some of the items which are already part of the collection – including photographs, magazines and LPs – and said the library’s dedication to preserving the material, and making it available to students and scholars, influenced his decision to create the archive.

“The clincher (for me sending this material here) was that it’s going to be taken care of,” Blades told library staff. “Plus, everyone is going to have access to it.”

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The Rubén Blades Archive will come to the library gradually over the next several years, and will be cataloged as material arrives, said Virginia Danielson, Richard F. French Librarian of Loeb Music Library. The archive will eventually include a complete collection of all LPs, CDs and liner notes for Blades' recorded music, concert and rehearsal audio and video recordings, sheet music and arrangements, lyrics and translations, magazine and newspaper interviews and clippings, photos and mementos. Material from Blades’ political career – he ran unsuccessfully for president in his native Panama, founded a political party and most recently served as Panama’s Minister of Tourism – will also be added to the archive.  

photograph      photograph
Blades and his wife, jazz singer Luba Mason,
react upon seeing a selection of the first items included in the archive.
  Blades and Mason examine some of the photographs included in the Rubén Blades Archive.
photograph   photograph
Blades and Mason listen as Virginia Danielson, Richard F. French Librarian of the Loeb Music Library describes the Spalding Room.   Back row, from left: José Massó, host of ¡Con Salsa! on WBUR, Mason, Blades and Danielson. Front row, from left, Alison Weinstock, coordinator of the Rubén Blades Archive, and Donna Guerra, Curatorial Assistant in the Archive of World Music.