Ismael Rivera : "El Sonero Mayor" from Puerto Rico
Ismael Rivera, known as “El Sonero Mayor,” was a Puerto Rican singer and composer who revolutionized the sound of Afro-Caribbean music in the 1950s and 60s. Rivera’s incredible voice and improvisational skills made him one of the most celebrated and influential artists of his time.
Rivera’s passionate performances and socially conscious lyrics touched the hearts of millions and inspired new generations of musicians to follow in his footsteps. Even after his passing, his music continues to resonate with audiences worldwide, cementing his status as a true icon of salsa music. Ismael Rivera’s incredible legacy will continue to inspire and influence musicians for generations to come.
Ismael Rivera, also known as “El Sonero Mayor,” was a Puerto Rican singer and composer who is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in the history of salsa music. Born in Santurce, San Juan in 1931, Rivera began his music career as a young boy singing in church choirs. He later joined a group of street musicians and became known for his powerful voice and improvisational skills.
In the 1950s, Rivera joined the renowned orchestra of Rafael Cortijo, and together they revolutionized the sound of Afro-Caribbean music. Rivera’s distinctive voice and passionate performances became the hallmark of the group, and they soon gained a huge following throughout Latin America.
Rivera’s solo career began in the 1960s, and he went on to release several successful albums that showcased his unique blend of salsa, bomba, and plena music. His most famous album, “De Colores,” released in 1978, is considered a classic of the genre and features some of his most beloved songs, such as “Las Caras Lindas” and “El Nazareno.”
Despite his immense talent and success, Rivera struggled with drug addiction and spent several years in prison. However, he eventually overcame his addiction and returned to the stage, continuing to inspire new generations of musicians and fans with his music.
Rivera’s legacy as a pioneer of salsa music continues to live on, and his influence can be heard in the work of countless artists today. He was posthumously inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame in 2007, cementing his status as one of the greatest salsa singers of all time.