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Ismael Rivera

Ismael Rivera (El Sonero Mayor "Maelo") was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico, on October 5, 1931. It all started on the very same street Rivera was born and raised on: Calle Calma. There he was instilled with the sounds and rhythms of Puerto Rico: the bomba and plena. At a young age, Rivera was exposed to the influences that would set him on his musical destiny. First, his mother, Margarita, bore in him a love for singing. And next, his boyhood friend Rafael Cortijo provided Rivera with the impulse and drive as well as a more structured musical forum for him to unleash his unique vocal style. Their relationship would take the sound of Calle Calma, and then all of Puerto Rico, and around the world and immortalized their names and music in the evolution of Latin music and salsa.

In 1954, Ismael Rivera and Cortijo recorded their first hit, "El Bombon de Elena." From the mid- to late '50s, Cortijo y su Combo, with Rivera as the singer, took the Caribbean by storm. At the turn of the decade, they traveled to New York for the first time and it didn't take long for Cortijo and Rivera to solidify their position in the growing Latin music scene of Manhattan. Their popularity was largely due to their rhythmic sound and the band's ability to simultaneously play great music and entertain through rapidly choreographed dance routines. However, the one element that separated Cortijo y su Combo from all the other Latin song-and-dance bands was the voice of Rivera. A key ingredient to the bomba and plena sound of Puerto Rico is vocals and Maelo's voice is the single most defining aspect of his music. With a booming, precisely rhythmic, yet equally spontaneous voice, Ismael Rivera was a master of the Cuban son.

He earned the title "El Sonero Mayor" from none other than Beny Moré, the legendary Cuban singer. The title not only emphasized Maelo's great talent, but showed how Latin music at the time was beginning to mix and blend together all the distinctive musical traditions of America into one sound: salsa. Ismael Rivera embodied a mix of the traditional folk Puerto Rican bomba and plena with the Cuban son vocal singing style. After his successful trip to the U.S., though, Cortijo lost his "voice" when Rivera began a five-year prison sentence in 1962 on drug charges. Maelo later sang about his experience on a track, titled "Las Tumbas (The Tombs)," named after the Kentucky prison that had several floors below ground.

After serving four years, Rivera was eager to get back to singing with Cortijo, but clubs would not book dates for the Latin musician whose past they could not forgive. Cortijo and Rivera found themselves in a changed Latin music scene that would force them to go separate ways. "El Sonero Mayor," however, would go on to record some of his best work with his own band, the Cachimbos, showcasing his unequaled talent better than ever. In the 1970s, Rivera was looked upon as a legend from another era, and he helped a number of young musicians get their start in the New York salsa scene, including Ismael Miranda and Ruben Blades. ~ Roberto Ledesma, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Salsa
Mi isla, mi gente, wepa
inspiring story...than k s .
luispacheco5 7
Transitioned us towards Salsa.
Siempre que dios lo tenga en la Gloria! Boricua de corazon ! Lo mejor de Santurce, PR! Pura crema! Wepa lola!
El mejor de los MEJORES soneros, las tumbas es le hibno de las priciones en Venezuela.
GRACIAS MAELO!!
Kiss your left hand
Say your crushes name
Close your hand
Choose a weekday
Post this on 15 other stations and on that weekday your crush will ask you out
rlaureano02
From Richie aka . Manteca 187 park 2014 ��summer soon and our parade ��let's continue our pride ��let's cook the pork and rice . Love my people
Con todo mis respetos a los gran maestros de la salsa,Hector , C h e o , F r a n k i e ,Andy etc.pero como Maelo jamas habra otro
Much love & respect for Ismael Rivera!!!!
lo amo , y es que sigo oigo q ; lo oigo, ., waooooo!!!!! ! ! !
I love Pietro Rica music
I don't care what anyone says. Us Puerto Ricans are NOTHING BUT THE BEST! Gracias Mami y Papi por acer me quien soy hoy, love your daughter Martha Negron
Maelo una de nuestras leyendas muy queridos portodos los que conocen de la salsa en y fuera de Puerto Rico
Mi gente de PRico, wepaaaaaaa!! !
Esa voz semi ronca se escucha en los corazones de todo boricua.
Lets not forget Richie Ray and Bobby Cruz, they are from Puerto Rico too
Great music. Ola!! Rivera
luiselsugar5 3
El mejor del mundo
Como soy borrica dela mata me encanta la musica o mejor dicho la salsa vieja y mientras mas vieja mejor se escucha
danrodz
VIVA PUERTO RICO !!!!! LOS HOMBRES SON BELLOS !!!!! Y LAS MUJERES SON PRECIOSAS MI BELLO PUERTO RICO " BORICUA !!!!!
danrodz
MAELO " EL SONERO MAYOR " VAYA BORICUAAA !!!!!!!! PUERTO RICO HA TENIDO LOS MEJORES CANTANTES .... ISMAEL RIVERA HECTOR LAVOE PETE CONDE RODRIGUEZ FRANKIE RUIZ CHAMACO RAMIREZ " VIVA PUERTO RICO !!!!!! MI PRECIOSA ISLA DEL ENCANTO " DONDE LOS HOMBRES SON BELLOS !!!!!! WEEPAAAAAA
nancyweissbe i n
We that are Puerto Rican people should always be very proud of our beautiful heritage:) Amor
El sonero mayor no habido nadie como el viva puertorro.
QUE VIVA PUERTO RICO. R.I.P. ISMAEL, EL TIMBALERO. CHAPO.
Vaya maelo q dios te tenga en la gloria
Ese es el papa de la salsa asta la muerte de cora love you i contento i orgulloso de ser boricua mi hermano de otra madre pero el mismo padre
Lo de Maelo hay que sacárselo aparté porque es único
Just one small adjustment to Mr. Ledesma's bio: Ismael Rivera's vocal and improvisatio n a l style as well as his innovation of stepping on the clave was developed from his experience singing the Puerto Rican plena. Ismael Rivera's style was his own and went on to influence and expand on the Afro-Cuban and Afro-Puerto Rican tradition of the soneo.
Maelo el sonero mayor . Benny More lo bautizo. Salsa de corazon de borinquen.Bo r i c u a de corazón
Nothing like SALSA from the ole school!
sherllycintr o n
Wepaaa cocolos esto salsa de la mata pero Hector lavoe, Roberto roena, Lalo en sus tiempos franki ruiz , El gran combo son una cura.
Q orgullo Boricua!! Hay q vivirlo!
Salsa de la mata
ECUA , HEY
Mis respetos al salsero mayor, Maelo. La canción más conmovedora; Las Caras Lindas.
Man bring back lots of memories and specially when your part of the African roots from Puerto Rico!!
This the jam reminds of my child hood when the fam got to gather and b.b.q
One of Salsa's Greats!
WEE.FROM VILLA KENNEDY,SANT U R C E . . C O M O DICE ANDY, SANTURCE LA BELLA TIERRA...ISM A E L TE LLEVO DE CORAZON..CUA N D O PASO POR PLAYITA, Y LLORREN,TU ESPIRITU SE HACE PRESENTE, ESPERO QUE HAYA EN EL CIELO JUNTO A CRISTO, LA BOMBA,Y LA PLENA SEA SAGRADA PARA EL....MAELO, R.I.P....STO R M R I D E R S 5 2 @ Y A H O O . C O M
Musica que escuchaba mi abuelo, escucha mi papa y yo tambien
Soy boricua de cora q decir q maelo nasio en gurabo en la calle corta de ay se mudo para la calle calma el bory / 860
I think today's Salsa doesn't have it..nothing like old school Salsa! There's probably a handfull of artist that are worth listening to!
LEGEND!!
there's nothing like great salsa music, and this man can put on you.... i just love the sound he left behind for us to enjoy...love ur music...
Salsa vieja es lo mejor!
! MAELO VIVE ¡
angelcarrito
yesterday would have been your b-day. im glad that we still have your music & your legacy.
si buscas musica lo mejor padora
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