Rubén Rada

Article Works Projects www
genre(subgenre):
region:
country/territory:
created on:
February 23, 2010
last changed on:
Please note: This page has not been updated since March 22, 2010. We decided to keep it online because we think the information is still valuable.
information provided by:
Other languages:
Rubén Rada
Rubén Rada. © Horatio Sbaraglia

Article

Uruguay’s Undiscovered Giant

Throughout its musical history, South America has produced myriad charismatic personalities whose sounds echo around the world. Ask here in Germany, however, about famous musicians from the little nation of Uruguay, and the response will be a collective shrug of the shoulders. Yet Argentina’s smaller neighbor on the Rio de la Plata is home to an all-around musical talent whose life path has largely bypassed the European world-music boom, but who – more than almost any of his contemporaries – for decades has worked as a devoted cross-genre pioneer.
Rubén Rada is born in 1943 in Montevideo’s Palermo quarter. He grows up as a fan of the Beatles, Ray Charles, Louis Armstrong and Carlos Gardel. Embarking on his musical career in 1965 with the band El Kinto Conjunto, Rada becomes the first to combine Western rock music with Latin elements and to incorporate elements of jazz, funk, soul, tango and pop in his songs. But even in these early years, his ambitions and his achievements run deeper. From the beginning, he integrates Uruguay’s national genre, candombe, in his musical creations. This traditional style, marked by complex rhythms laid down by three drums and costumed dancers, also has a history in Argentina as an expression of black identity, but, along with that nation’s black population, has largely disappeared there. Rada wants to prevent this from happening in Uruguay. His promotion of candombe is at once a spirited act of dedication to his country’s 180,000-strong black community. In his eclectic art – the combination of popular sounds from all over the world with his native musical culture and African heritage – he anticipates the similar approach of the Brazilian Tropicália movement around Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso, who a few years later give form to a new Afro-Brazilian pop and rock idiom.

On the threshold of the 1970s Rada forms another band, imposingly named Tótem, which creates “candombe-beat” and quickly attains cult status in South American Latin rock. Rada’s reputation spreads beyond the shores of the continent. In 1977-78 he lives in the USA, where he performs alongside many prominent musicians, including Ray Barretto, Flora Purim and Hermeto Pascoal. On his return to the southern hemisphere, he works to increase his popularity in Argentina, founding the group La Banda in Buenos Aires and dividing his time between the two capitals on the Rio de la Plata. In the 1980s he appears at festivals in Cuba and tours Northern Europe. He moves to Mexico in 1991, immersing himself deeply in the regional scene as a producer and arranger. In Mexico City he shares the stage with Sting and UB40. He leads candombe in back-to-back triumphs in the late 1990s, first at a concert with Daniela Mercury in southern Brazil before an audience of 100,000, then in 1998 in Europe, where he collaborates with the nuevo flamenco band Ketama. In New York, between 1996 and 1999, he records the CDs “Montevideo” and “Montevideo 2,” for which he finally grabs the attention of the world-music scene.

Rada’s vocal faculties are even more startling than his cosmopolitan career. His singing encompasses an extraordinary range of expression. It can sound lovely and gently lyrical, fall into the timbre of a muted trombone, then shift into a dramatic droning. Equally striking is Rada’s compositional skill, which has caught the ear of major foreign artists: Milton Nascimento, Leny Hall and Herb Alpert have all recorded his songs. In the new millennium, Rubén Rada, better known simply as “El Negro Rada,” has again intensified his commitment to his lifeblood genre. On “Candombe Jazz Tour” he gathers together the great candombe highlights, furnishes them with new arrangements, and makes the old genre shine with contemporary radiance. Rubén Rada – an exceptional figure in South American music, and still waiting to be discovered by German listeners.
Author: Stefan Franzen

Works

Montevideo Dos

Published Audio,
2010
Platinum Album. Big World

Tengo un candombe para Gardel

Published Audio,
2010
Compilation. Remix

Miscelánea Negra

Published Audio,
2010
Platinum Album. Ayui

Fan

Published Audio,
2009
Gold album. MMG

Bailongo

Published Audio,
2008
Platinum Album. S-Music

Varsovia

Published Audio,
2007
With Javier Malosetti. Zapatito/Oday

Richie Silver

Published Audio,
2006
EMI

Rakatá

Published Audio,
2006
Compilation. Zapatito

Candombe Jazz Tour

Published Audio,
2005
EMI

Rubenrá

Published Audio,
2004
Gold album. Zapatito

Alegre Caballero

Published Audio,
2003
Gardel Award (EMI)

Sueños de Niño

Published Audio,
2001
Gold Album. Zapatito

Quien Va a Cantar

Published Audio,
2000
Gold album. Universal

La Cosa se Pone Negra

Published Audio,
2000
Compilation. Universal

¿Quién va a Cantar?

Published Audio,
2000
Triple Platinum. Universal

La Cosa se Pone Negra

Published Audio,
2000
Universal

Rada Para Niños

Published Audio,
1999
Gold Album. Zapatito

Black

Published Audio,
1998
Platinum Album. Universal

Rada en Colores

Published Audio,
1998
EMI

Miscelánea Negra

Published Audio,
1997
Aqua

Lo mejor de Rada

Published Audio,
1997
Vol. II. Sondor

Montevideo

Published Audio,
1996
Platinum Album. Big World

Botijas Band con Rubén Rada

Published Audio,
1996
Orfeu

Lo mejor de Rada

Published Audio,
1993
Vol. I. Sondor

Concierto por la vida

Published Audio,
1992
Orfeu

Terapia de Murga

Published Audio,
1991
Melopea

Físico de Rock

Published Audio,
1991
Sondor

Las aventuras de R.Rada y Litto Nebbia

Published Audio,
1990
Melopeia

Pa’ los Uruguayos

Published Audio,
1989
Melopea

Siete Vidas

Published Audio,
1987
N.A.

Botija de mi país

Published Audio,
1987
Sondor

La Yapla Mata

Published Audio,
1986
N.A.

Adar Nebur

Published Audio,
1984
N.A.

La Cosa Se Pone Negra

Published Audio,
1983
N.A.

En Familia

Published Audio,
1982
N.A.

Las aventuras de R.Rada y H.Fattoruso

Published Audio,
1981
Melopeia

La Rada

Published Audio,
1981
N.A.

La Banda

Published Audio,
1980
N.A.

Radeces

Published Audio,
1975
Ayui

S.O.S.

Published Audio,
1974
N.A.

Camerata Punta del Este

Published Audio,
1974
Sondor

Rada

Published Audio,
1972
Sondor

Descarga

Published Audio,
1972
Sondor

Tótem

Published Audio,
1971
Sondor

Musicasión 4 ½

Published Audio,
1970
Sondor

Las Manzanas

Published Audio,
1969
Sondor

Circa 1968

Published Audio,
1968
Sondor

Projects

This artist took part in the following project(s) organized/funded by the culturebase.net partner institutions.

LifeLines No 3: Rubén Rada

(08 April 10 - 10 April 10)

Www

Homepage of the artist