Willie Colón & Rubén Blades: Siembra
Rubén Blades’ songwriting and Willie Colón’s production combined to create an album that has been called the "Sgt. Pepper of Salsa": Siembra. LATIN MUSIC USA airs Friday, April 28 and Friday, May 5 at 9/8C on PBS (check local listings).
SMITS: Blades' songwriting and Colón's production
combined to create an album that has been called
the"Sgt. Pepperof salsa"-- Siembra.
BLADES: If an album sold 10,000 copies,
it was, you know...
If it sold 40,000,
which was what Willie was doing
at the time, it was, "Whoa."
And if it sold 100,000, it was like unbelievably huge success.
♪ Las manos siempre en los bolsios de su galan... ♪
When we sold 500,000 copies ofSiembra
in Caracas, Venezuela, alone, that was like an earthquake.
♪ Y sepatia por si ay problema... ♪
COLOÓN: And it just came at the right moment.
There was problems in Panama,
there was problems in the universities in Puerto Rico,
all of these political problems and here comesSiembra-- boom.
Do you know "Mack the Knife"?
♪ Oh, the shark bites
♪ With such teeth, dear...
SMITS: The inspiration for the biggest hit on the album
came from an unlikely source.
I heard that song when I was, you know,
when I was, like, eight or nine years of age.
Bobby Darin recorded "Mack the Knife."
I remember I used to, in parties, I used to sing it,
you know, mimic and they would give me a quarter or something.
It's a haunting melody.
(singing "Pedro Navaja")
SMITS: Based on "Mack the Knife,"
"Pedro Navaja" told the story of a Barrio hoodlum
who stabs a woman on the street, but is shot by her as she dies.
The bully got bullied.
And that was happening in all levels of society:
governments were treating people badly,
authorities were not doing what they were supposed to do
and people saw in that example a way of getting even.
In the midst of the attack, it's, like, I respond in kind.