Ruben Blades Charms with Alter Ego Medoro Madera

Rubén Blades – Medoro Madera (Ruben Blades  Productions, 2018)

Medoro Madera is Ruben Bades’ fascinating tribute to the great Cuban soneros. He does this by creating an alter ego, a character that sings with a different, unrecognizable voice.  Rubén changes his voice surprisingly, using a different timbre than we are used to and it’s all done without electronics.

The gentleman on the front cover, Medoro Madera is a new persona as well. It’s a superimposed picture of Rubén Blades’ 93-year old father and Rubén himself.

Medoro Madera features the superb Panamanian Roberto Delgado & Orchestra, although in a scaled down version to resemble a traditional son cubano ensemble. Additional Cuban flavor is added by Panama-based Cuban tres guitar virtuoso Mayito Travieso and conguero Juan Zelada.

The lineup on the album includes Medoro Madera (Rubén Blades) on lead vocals, chorus; musical director Roberto Delgado on double bass, guitar and choruses; Bolívar “Bomy” Román on tres; Juan Berna on piano; Marcos Barraza on congas; Carlos Pérez-Bidó on timbales; Raúl “Toto” Rivera on bongo, bell, güiros and maracas; Juan Carlos “Wichy” López on trumpet; Alejandro “Chichisín” Castillo on trumpets; George de León on chorus; Mayito Travieso on tres; and Juan Zelada on congas.

Medoro Madera is an irresistible and savory neo-traditional Cuban album by the multi-faceted and extremely talented singer-songwriter and actor Rubén Blades. “The most danceable album I’ve ever done.”

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.

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