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.