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Ismael Rivera

In the rarefied air of the premier salsa singers, the influential Ismael Rivera personifies the role of the vocalist as the musical interpreter and voice of the common people, where the music originated. He is recognized as “El Sonero Mayor,” which translates into the master improviser, for his uncanny ability to invent and compose lyrics on the spot, and in perfect time.

The town of Loiza Aldea, in Puerto Rico (east of San Juan) is recognized as a vital source of African derived music and rhythms on the island, primarily the bomba and plena, which are indigenous to the area. Ismael Rivera was born there on Oct. 5, 1931. He was drawn to the music since childhood, and assimilated the nuances and phrasings which would be his unique styling.

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