Ruben Rada is a famous Uruguayan artist who has successfully completed over 30 albums, many of which have come to be considered as classics. This amazing musical genius has not only created beautiful songs but is also a composer, percussionist, and creator of a brand new genre of music called “Candombe.” This unique style was created through his integration of different genres and instruments such as, Rock and Mexican music. He has also appeared on television and in films. His unfortunate inability to form or find a stable band has followed him in his entire career. Over the years he has tried to find stability with the Fattoruso Brothers, El Kinto, Totem, Otros Shakers, La Banda, and La Rada. Despite being very successful, both when performing solo songs and when performing with his band mates, he could never find members to stick with over the years. In spite of all this, he has been able to find global fame performing from the United States to his home country Uruguay
Childhood & Early Life
Ruben Rada was born on July 17, 1943 in the Palermo district of Montevideo, Uruguay. Growing up he had a special love for music with some of his favorite singers being Ray Charles and the Beatles.
His first job required him to do song covers and imitations of famous artists on a radio show. Though he did not gain any quick fame, he was exposed to and quickly learned music ranging from Mexican songs to tangos.
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In 1956, he got his first big break while riding the public bus. He met some jazz musicians who turned out to be the Fattoruso brothers. They were impressed by the young boy’s love for music and invited him to join their band, the Hot Blowers. He continued to play with them until he was 20 years old.
In 1964, he teamed up with Eduardo Mateo to form the band ‘El Kinto Conjunto’. The band’s unique sounds came from their innovative use of Latin American elements fused with Rock and other genres. They were also the first band in his country to create the beat genre in Spanish.
He decided to briefly relocate to Argentina where he was able to record his first solo album and hit single ‘Las Manzanas’. The single was a major success and due to his popularity he was invited to participate in the Rio de Janeiro’s Festival of Popular Music in 1965.
In 1966, he joined the band ‘Totem’. Together, they successfully recorded two albums and became one of Uruguay’s most popular bands in their unique genre.
In 1977, his former band mates, the Fattoruso Brothers, invited him to come to the United States to assist in the recording of their second album, ‘Magic Time’. Together with his new band, OPA, he created one of the best musical works of his time.
In 1986 he made his first appearance in the film. He was cast in the comedy ‘Soy Paciente’.
For the next few years he tried unsuccessfully to create a lasting band. He recorded albums with the bands: La Banda, Otros Shakers, and La Rada. From 1980 to 1991, he produced an average of one album each year.
In 2002, he began his own record label called ‘Zapatito Discos’. Since then he has been recording several albums and appearing on television and film as well.
In 2004, he voiced Frozone in the Argentinian version of ‘The Incredibles’. Around the same time he directed the television show ‘El Telefono’ and ‘Radar’.
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His most recent album release was in 2011 called ‘Confidence, Rada Instrumental’. Presently, he is above 70 and continues to work on various musical projects.
His time with his first band, El Kinto, in 1964 produced the music that would make Rada famous. The band was able to integrate genres and unrelated instruments to form great masterpieces. The fascinating sounds he produced spawned an entire genre to be created.
Awards & Achievements
Between 1996 and 1999, Ruben Rada was busy recording ‘Montevideo’ and ‘Montevideo 2’. The album reached platinum status in Uruguay. His success reached global proportions as the album debuted in France, Sweden, the United States, Japan, Argentina, and Germany.
In 2000, he released his album ‘Quien Va a Cantar’, (Who will sing). The popular album quickly reached triple-platinum status in Uruguay and gold status in Argentina.
His 2003 and 2004 albums ‘Alegre Caballero’ and ‘Rubenrá’ both won Gardel Awards. These important awards are given out each year in the Premios Gardel, the Argentine equivalent of the American Grammy Awards.
In 2006, he was again awarded with a Gardel Award. It was given to him for his successful album “Richie Silver.”
In 2011, the Latin Recording Academy bestowed the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award on Ruben Rada. He was given the honor due to his amazing innovation involving musical integration.
Personal Life & Legacy
He is married to Patricia Jodara. Together the couple has three children Lucila, Matias, and Juliet.
Ruben Rada literally created the Spanish beat genre later named the “Candombe Beat”. The style has its root in the unique combination of the piano, chico, and repique. The beat became widely popular and has been utilized by countless musicians.
Paul McCartney is rumored to be a huge fan of Ruben Rada. The popular Brazilian singer Milton Nascimento is also among his admirers