Fear The Walking Dead's first episode of Season 2 has definitely begun to set the tempo for what we can expect this season for the small band of survivors from Los Angeles. Most importantly, we are starting to get an idea of how important Daniel Salazar (portrayed by Ruben Blades), the barber who will stop at nothing to protect his daughter, is going to be for the rest of the bunch. We knew from the first season that Daniel is capable of just about anything, especially with a background of being an intelligence officer a.k.a. torture specialist from El Salvador.
I don't know about you, but this man at his worst may be scarier than Negan wielding Lucille. Only time will tell, but let's get to know the man behind the fearless Los Angeles barber.
1. Ruben Blades Is A Legendary Musician
If you ask any salsa music lover who knows the genre well, they will tell you how important Ruben Blades has been to this movement. Blades fronted one of the most legendary salsa orchestras ever to grace a stage, El Gran Combo, from the music label that started it all: Fania Records.
The multi-Grammy winner and former Fania all-star in 1978 wrote the song "El Cantante" for the man who many consider to be the greatest salsa singer to have ever lived: Héctor Lavoe. Lavoe was known as "El Cantante de los Cantantes" ("the singer of singers") during the 70s, and Ruben wanted to honor his talents with the song. Hector Lavoe obliged Blades and recorded the song that same year, and it became Lavoe's signature song.
Note: The film El Cantante starring Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez told a fictionalized version of Hector Lavoe's story, in which Blades tells Lavoe he wrote the song for him while on stage at a club performing it himself.
Ruben Blades collaborated with another salsa legend, trombone master Willie Colon to record the album Siembra in 1978. The album became the best-selling salsa record in history, selling over 25 million copies worldwide. Most of the individual tracks hit the top of the charts in various Latin American countries.
In 2015, he won a Grammy award for Best Latin Pop Album for Tangos.
2. Ruben Blades, The Seasoned Actor
Before you got to know him on Fear The Walking Dead, Ruben Blades had roles in movies since 1983's The Last Fight. Since then, he has worked on many films and TV shows and is well-known for roles in The Milagro Beanfield War (1988), Mo Better Blues (1990), Predator 2 (1990), X-Files (1997), Gideons Crossing (2000), and One Upon A Time In Mexico (2003).
3. President Ruben Blades Of Panama?
The Panamanian-born son of Cuban musician and actress Anoland Díaz (real surname Bellido de Luna), and Colombian athlete, percussionist and graduate of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in Washington, DC Rubén Darío Blades Sr. actually has aspirations for the top office in his native country.
Ruben Blades ran for office in 1994, garnering 18% of the vote. In 2004, he was appointed minister of tourism by then President Martín Torrijos for a five-year term, and is currently considering running for President of Panama in the 2019 election.
What chance does Ruben Blades, music icon and Hollywood actor, have in a presidential election in Panama? A very good one, since he is also a lawyer with a Master's degree from Harvard Law School.
One of the finest gems in Latin America, and a friend to all mankind, Ruben Blades continues his pursuit of excellence, except this time he will be evaluated on how well he can kill zombies!