Rubén Rada (born 1943; moniker "El Negro Rada") is an Afro-Uruguayan percussionist, composer and singer. He is closely associated with Candombe, an Afro-Uruguayan rhythmic style music, which is based on the sound of three types of drums: ´chico´, 'repique' and 'piano'. Rada has recorded more than 30 albums, which today are considered Uruguayan classics.
Rada had a prominent role in the evolution of modern Candombe music by blending it to a great variety of musical styles and instruments not traditionally linked to this genre of music. He is founder of the candombe-beat and the author of some of the most beautiful songs that Uruguay has given. His music combines pop stylings with typically Uruguayan sounds like those of the candombe drums and of the murga choruses typical of the Uruguayan Carnival.
In 1965 together with Eduardo Mateo, he formed the band El Kinto Conjunto. This was the first group in Uruguay to create the beat genre in Spanish (Castilian) and to fuse rock with Latin American elements unprecedented in first world formats. In 1969 the success of his Candombe song 'Las Manzanas' ('The Apples'), introduced him as a solo artist to a first album and led him to participate in Rio de Janeiro's Festival of Popular Music. A year later he formed the band TÓTEM, one of the pillars of national rock music. Tótem was one of the most important massive phenomena of Uruguayan music and represented the height of the Candombe beat. In total he has recorded more than thirty albums, his latest being "Fan" (2009). Many of his albums are considered Uruguayan classics.
Besides being well-known in Uruguay, Rada has also achieved some measure of renown outside the country and has made a number of recordings under international labels including EMI Latin and Universal Records.
As a renowned composer, his songs are played worldwide and have been recorded by international music celebrities to the likes of Milton Nascimento Lifetime Achievement Award, in Las Vegas. Lanny Hall, and Herb Alpert. Rada was invited by Jon Anderson and Joan Manuel Serrat to feature in their albums 'Deseo' ('Desire') and 'Utopía' ('Utopia'), respectively.
In 1977, he traveled to the United States invited by the Fattoruso Brothers to play with the group OPA. He remained in the United States until 1978 where he performed together with Ray Barreto, Tom Scott, Flora Purim, Hermeto Pascoal, amongst others.
Between 1991 and 1994, he settled in Mexico, where he worked as a composer and arranger for renowned local musicians such as Mijares, Eugenia León, Stephanie Salas and Tania Libertad. It was in 1994 when Rada shared the spotlight at Mexico City's 'Palacio de Deportes' with Sting and UB40.
His records from World Music 'Montevideo' and 'Montevideo II', which were recorded in New York City and edited in 1996 and 1999 respectively, feature musicians such as Hiram Bullock, Bakithi Kumalo, Hugo Fattoruso, José Pedro Beledo, Antón Fig and Ringo Thielmann. 'Montevideo' reached platinum sales in Uruguay and was edited in Argentina, Japan, France, Italy, Sweden, Germany and the United States.
In Argentina, he also became extremely popular and recorded many albums. His awarded album ¿Quién va a cantar? ('Who is going to sing?'), produced by Cachorro Lopez, is Triple - Platinum Album in Uruguay and Gold Album in Argentina.
British singer Paul McCartney and Brazilian singer Milton Nascimento are among Rada's admirers.
He voiced the part of Lucius Best/Frozone in the 2004 Argentinian dubbing of The Incredibles. He has also directed radio and TV shows such as Radar (radio) and El Teléfono (TV).
Since October 2007 he also stars in a sitcom called "La oveja negra" (The black sheep).
In April 2010, the third round of the series LifeLines at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin pays tribute to Rubén Rada. Three days of concerts and discussions about his life and career as part of the project Bicentenario - focusing on 200 years of independence movements in Latin America,
On July 26, 2011, it was announced by The Latin Recording Academy that Rubén Rada will be honored with The Latin Recording Academy®'s Lifetime Achievement Award. This honor will be acknowledged at a special invitation-only ceremony on Wednesday, November 9, 2011, at the Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas as part of the weeklong Latin Grammy Award celebration.