Ismael Rivera Concert Tribute Tour 2015 Miami / South Florida  “El Sonero Mayor” during his lifetime, few artists have had more of an impact as Ismael Rivera had on the salsa movement. The late composer and singer began scoring hit records in Puerto Rico, becoming a sensation throughout the Caribbean in the '50s. Extended visits to New York City at the turn of the decade only further cemented his reputation as one of the finest live performers on the salsa circuit. Sadly, beginning in 1962, Rivera spent four years in prison on drug charges. After being released, the singer continued working and also helped other musicians get their start in the New York salsa scene, before passing away in 1987 of a heart attack at the age of 55