Pedro Navaja

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"Pedro Navaja"
Song by Willie Colón & Rubén Blades
from the album Siembra
Language Spanish
Released 1978
Genre Salsa
Length 7:22
Label Fania Records
Songwriter(s) Rubén Blades
Producer(s) Willie Colón

Pedro Navaja (English: Pedro Knife) is a salsa song written and performed by Rubén Blades from the 1978 collaboration with Willie Colón, Siembra, about a criminal of the same name.[1] "Navaja" means knife or razor (hence an analogy to Blades' surname) in Spanish.[original research?] Inspired by the song Mack the Knife,[2] it tells the story of a panderer's life and his presumed death. The song is recognized throughout Hispanic America as it pictures scenes and stories common to these countries, even though the story takes place in New York City. The song deals with life, death and the unexpected with dark humor.

There is also a film titled Pedro Navaja, filmed in Mexico in 1984, starring Andrés García as the title character, Maribel Guardia as his girlfriend, and Resortes as his best friend,[3] which is based on this song; it was made without Blades's input, which caused him to record "Sorpresas" (Surprises), a song that continues the story, turning the movie's plot around by revealing Navaja was still alive and had killed another panderer while he was being searched by the panderer, provided that the other panderer believed he was truly dead. There was also a musical, La verdadera historia de Pedro Navaja, book and lyrics by Pablo Cabrera, music by Pedro Rivera Toledo, based on John Gay's "The Beggar's Opera," first produced by Teatro del Sesenta in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1980 at the Teatro Sylvia Rexach; toured to Santo Domingo, DR; and, opened the Joseph Papp's Latino Festivals of 1985 and 1986, where José Félix Gómez and Idalia Pérez Garay played the title role; also produced by the Teatro Musical de La Habana, Cuba; produced by the Compañía de Teatro Nacional de Venezuela (1986 & 1991); Lolyn Paz produced it three times: in Caguas, Puerto Rico (2003), San Juan, Puerto Rico (2004), and Fort Lauderdale, FL (2004); Lima, Peru, starring, among others, Camila Mac Lennan. The 1984 Mexican film had a 1986 sequel, El Hijo de Pedro Navaja (Pedro Navaja's Son), which starred Guillermo Capetillo. It is believed that the Storie to place in the neighborhood of Queens New York)


On the review of the album Siembra, John Bush of Allmusic referred the message as "a devastating life-in-el-Barrio exposé".[4] He also praised the arrangements of Willie Colón and Luis Ortiz, noting the use of street noise and police sirens as well as the statement "I like to live in America". David Wilson of Wilson & Alroy's called "Pedro Navaja" a "masterpiece".[5]


The song has been covered by Los Joao, La Lupe, La Orquesta Plateria (that popularized the song in Spain), Pepe Arevalo, Los Flamers, Roman Palomar, A Palo Seko, Markoz, and La Pozze Latina. Pedro Navaja was one of the songs that Puerto Rican singer Chayanne covered his 1994 album, Influencias.[6] Mexican pop singer, Emmanuel covered the song on his live album, Emmanuel Presenta...[7]


  1. ^ "Pedro Navaja" on
  2. ^ "Performance with Seis del Solar"
  3. ^ IMDB profile
  4. ^ Bush, John. "Siembra: Review". Allmusic. Rovi. Retrieved 2010-11-24. 
  5. ^ Wilson, David. "Willie Colón/Rubén Blades-Siembra". Wilson & Alroy's. Retrieved 2010-11-24. 
  6. ^ "Influencias — Chayanne". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2010-11-24. 
  7. ^ "Emmanuel Presenta...;— Emmanuel". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2010-11-24. 

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