Ruben Blades is the Renaissance man of Salsa. A Panamanian who eventually went to Harvard Law School, he became the unlikely star of the New York Latin scene in the mid-1970s. This "Latin Springsteen" began singing with Willie Colon around that time, and their collaboration album Siembra stands as the most popular Salsa recording of all time. "Pedro Navaja," an irresistible Latin everyman of the barrio, captivated all of Latin America with its Salsa-fied "Mack the Knife" theme. Blades' lyrics often contain a historical poetry that relates to Pan-American themes, and his easy delivery underscores his natural voice as he tackles political themes with self-effacing humor. He has also recorded in English and has enjoyed modest success as an actor in film and television. In more recent years, he has experimented in other styles of Latin music while devoting his energy to his new political party in Panama and his subsequent bid for the presidency.