Juanes just might be the friendliest 17-time Latin Grammy winner you'll ever meet. The affable Colombian rocker often greets people with hugs and still personally responds to messages from among his 2 million Twitter followers. Even the title of his new album, "P.A.R.C.E.," welcomes you in — "parce" is a Colombian street slang term for "buddy." "I wanted to demonstrate a pure, positive energy," explains Juanes, who's midway through a 16-city U.S. tour. "This album is all about the hope that there could be a peace among all people." Juanes has long used his music as a platform to give voice to the stories of the marginalized and forgotten. He first came on the scene a decade ago with "FÃjate Bien," a song about the land mines — left from years of civil unrest — that have maimed and killed thousands of Colombians. Two years later, Juanes became a global superstar with "A Dios Le Pido," a plea for world peace.
All told, Juanes has sold more than 15 million records and introduced mainstream Latin music to the indigenous Colombian rhythms of vallenato and cumbia — popular styles of folk music originating in the nation's northern Caribbean region. Vallenato and cumbia have recently seen a resurgence in popularity within Latin music, turning up in dance floor mixes and even drawing their own category at the Latin Grammy Awards. Juanes mixes the styles into his signature powerful guitar-heavy ballads, and says that the blending of sounds and traditions allows him to express ideas across language barriers and genres. "Music has always been a way of expressing all my emotions," he says. "Whether they be happy, sad, frustrating, being scared. I think of music as a way for people to connect with each other, and it's been a blessing to have been able to do this." "I hope I can help cure through my music," he says. » Patriot Center, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax; Sun., 7 p.m., $39-$125; 703-993-3000.