For any given Salsa singer to reach the title of sonero is as good as it gets. All the best Salsa artists in history belong to this category. So, What is a sonero anyway?
In very simple terms, there are three elements a Salsa singer must have to be considered a real sonero: A unique voice, good improvisation skills and the ability to accommodate voice and improvisation over any kind of melody.
On top of all that, asonero must have a charismatic and appealing figure on stage. Having said this, the following list offers a selected group of some of the best Salsa artists known as soneros.
10. Adalberto Santiago
This Puerto Rican singer owes much of his personal success to the time he spent with the legendary Ray Barreto. However, Adalberto Santiago has also worked with some of the biggest names in the industry including Roberto Roena and Louie Ramirez. His legacy as a real sonero was achieved during the time he spent with the Fania All Stars. Some of his most famous tracks include "Quitate La Mascara," "La Hipocresia Y La Falsedad," and "La Noche Mas Linda."
9. Tito Rodriguez
Tito Rodriguez had a wonderful voice for Bolero. In fact, because of his enduring interpretation of the Bolero song "Inolvidable," he is usually remembered as "El Involvidable" (The Unforgettable). Besides his voice, Tito Rodriguez was also a talented songwriter as well as a complete musician able to play different instruments. His influence on Mambo was significant.
8. Benny More
Benny More is one of the most important names in Cuban music. A true pioneer of the sonerosgroup, Benny More was able to play it all. From Cuban Son and Mambo to Bolero and Guaracha, Benny More felt comfortable adding his voice to all the rhythms from its native land. He was also a member of the legendary Trio Matamoros.
7. Pete "El Conde" Rodriguez
"El Conde," as he was known, had a wonderful, powerful voice that fit the heaviest Descarga in the same way it fit the sweetest Bolero. He gained worldwide exposure with Johnny Pacheco and the Fania All Stars. Some of hist best singles include "Catalina La O," "La Escencia del Guaguanco," "Micaela" and "Sonero." His version of the Bolero song "Convergencia" is one of the best in its genre.
6. Ruben Blades
Besides having all the features that define a sonero, Ruben Blades has produced some of the most meaningful lyrics in Salsa music. His glory has not only touched music but also acting and even politics. Some of his most popular hits include "Plastico," "Decisiones" and "Te Estan Buscando." His single "Pedro Navaja" is considered one of the greatest Salsa songs of all time. This Panamanian artist built a big chunk of his initial success alongside Willie Colon.
5. Cheo Feliciano
Cheo Feliciano is the owner of one of the sweetest and most romantic voices Salsa music has ever known. This Puerto Rican singer started his career back in the 1960s with the legendary Joe Cuba Sextet. Right from the very beginning, Cheo proved to be a gifted artist who later on consolidated his own name with the famous Fania All Stars. Some of his hit songs include "Anacaona," "El Raton" and "Amada Mia."
4. Oscar D'Leon
Oscar d'Leon is Venezuela's greatest Salsa artist in history. "The Lion of Salsa," as he is often referred to, is an essential star of the groups of soneros that have shaped Salsa music. Besides having an amazing voice and a large music repertoire, Oscar D'Leon is also one of the best performers on stage especially when playing his bass. His name is a must have in any list dealing with best Salsa artists in history.
3. Celia Cruz
Not all the big soneros have been male artists. In the history of Salsa, there is a big exception to that rule. The name of that exception is not other than Celia Cruz, the Queen of Salsa. The legendary Cuban singer has been, in fact, one of the best soneros (soneras?) in Salsa music. Her powerful voice, charismatic style on stage and ability to improvise lyrics in the middle of a Salsa melody gave Celia Cruz the highest status that any Salsa artist can achieved. Some of the top songs by Celia Cruz include "Tu Voz," "Burundanga" and "Sopita En Botella."
2. Hector Lavoe
Regarded by many as the best Salsa artist in history, Hector Lavoe revolutionized this music genre with his unique, nasal voice and the amazing ability to come up with lyrics able to fit any note. Known as "La Voz" (The Voice) or "El Cantante" (The Singer), Hector Lavoe is definitely one of the best soneros of all time.
1. Ismael Rivera
Ismael Rivera was known as "El Sonero Mayor." That title defined this Puerto Rican singer as one of the best soneros in Salsa history. His unique voice and style shaped a whole generation of Salsa artists. Some of his best songs include "Mi Negrita Me Espera," "Las Caras Lindas," and "Sale El Sol."
Besides the JUANES MTV Unplugged album, Latin music is also celebrating this week the release of one of the most interesting works of Salsa. Cheo Feliciano and Ruben Blades, two of the best Salsa singers in history, have just released their collaboration album Eba Say Aja.
The album, which includes 12 tracks, features a unique work where Cheo Feliciano sings some of the most popular tracks from Ruben Blades while the Panamanian singer does the same with some of the most famous tunes from the Puerto Rican legend. In addition to this, Cheo Feliciano also sings "Inodoro Perez," a new track written by Ruben Blades for this production.
The two singers joined their voices in the tracks "Si Te Dicen" and "Lo Bueno Ya Viene." Some of the songs on this album include titles such as "Dime," "Sin Tu Carino" and "Los Entierros." If you are into Salsa music or want to further explore this exciting Latin music genre, this is definitely the kind album that you want to get.
Besides being one of the best Salsa singers in history, Ruben Blades has transformed Salsa music into a meaningful experience. Throughout his professional career, this Panamanian artist has written powerful lyrics dealing with topics like inequality, oppression, criminality, and the meaning of life. The following songs contain some of the best lyrics Ruben Blades has ever produced.
10. “Prohibido Olvidar” The lyrics of this song are powerful. "Prohibido Olvidar" is a timeless single that deals with the negative memories dictatorships left in Latin America. However, this song encompasses a global appeal. It is, in fact, a reminder for all of us to never forget what happens when political power falls in the hands of oppressive and corrupted regimes. It is not allowed to forget! This is what this song is all about.
9. “Maestra Vida” is a single that deals with the school of life we all have to go through. It is a reflection of the things that we see but we do not understand. The lyrics describe life as a temporary trip full of opposite experiences. This song is about what life gives you and what life takes away from you. "Maestra Vida" is one of the most iconic songs from Ruben Blades.
8. “Decisiones” This song is about decisions. From the girl who does not know what to do after finding out she is pregnant to the drunk man who decides to get into his car because he believes he is a better driver with alcohol, this song is about the price we have to pay for our actions. This uplifting song is one of the most popular hits Ruben Blades has ever written.
7. “Pablo Pueblo” The story of "Pablo Pueblo" is the story of an average poor man who struggles with his life and the conditions of his own existence. "Pablo Pueblo" describes an internal conflict that moves between frustration and hope. It is a touching song thanks to the poetic lyrics Ruben Blades incorporated into this single.
6. “Pedro Navaja” This is probably Ruben Blades' most famous song, and one track that has been considered by many one of the top Salsa songs ever written. Part of the appeal of "Pedro Navaja" relies in the fact that despite the tragic story it tells, the song is almost funny. It deals with a tragic episode between a prostitute and a thief in the streets of a big city, who kill each other for money. In the end, a drunk man finds the two bodies, takes the money, and walks away singing the main message of this song: Life is full of surprises.
5. “Te Estan Buscando” This is another song that deals with the issue of criminality in big cities. "Te Estan Buscando" (They are looking for you), is a warning to those who take the wrong way in life. It also describes the tension that arises when law enforcement agents move into the ghetto. The slow melody, which is defined by some amazing trombone playing, is plain fantastic.
4. “Sicarios” is probably one of the toughest songs Ruben Blades has ever written. It describes the deadly ritual that goes along with the mission of a sicario (hired assassin) who gets ready to shoot someone from his motorcycle. The figure of the sicario, which evolved in Latin America mainly through drug related violence, has affected countries like Colombia and Mexico. The lyrics of this song describes that sad reality.
3. “Tiburon” This song has lots of inner messages on it. In this case, this tiburon (shark) is more than animal here. This track deals with Imperialism in the Americas and with the uncomfortable presence of a powerful being in the Caribbean. If you listen carefully, this shark refers to presence of the US in the region. "Tiburon" is a call for an entire continent to defend its sovereignty.
2. "Plastico" is one of the most popular songs by Ruben Blades. Its irony makes a mockery of all of those who are trapped in a superficial life where the only thing that counts is money, fashion, and fake relationships. "Se ven las caras pero nunca el corazon" (You see faces but never the heart) is the sentence that defines this wonderful single.
1. “Ligia Elena” at first, the lyrics of this song may seem to tell a funny story. However, the funny part goes away quickly when you start to connect the lyrics with the real life. Racism has been a taboo in Latin America for many years. However, it does exist and very often it goes in connection to social class exclusion. "Ligia Elena" tells the story of a rich white girl who falls in love with the 'wrong' person. This is as good as it gets in terms of Ruben Blades lyrics.
To read his lyrics go to: http://www.rubenblades.com/letras. Enjoy.
... I would like to share you about certain things that might interest you.