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BIO: Inner_about
Manuel Rivera has been a musician for more than 51 years.  Manuel Rivera was born in New York City from Puerto Rican parents and was raised in the Lower East Side, Loisaida.  In 1973, he started his musical career playing Bongo in a Latin workshop band which eventually became Orchestra Yambu under the direction of Bassist Ramon Rodriguez and Pianist Milton Hamilton.  Yambu was known for its Latin Jazz style and Disco Hit "Sunny", his first recording. In 1975, Manuel wrote the song "Chango" for Conjunto Saoco, sung by Henry Fiol. Also in 1975, he recorded his first album with Yambu and in 1977 wrote the song "Mambo Charanga" featured in the album African Queen.   Manuel Rivera  studied  various  folkloric  rhythms,
Bata drums, sight reading and the discipline of being a musician and being a band leader at the Harbor's Conservatory of Music for Boys and Girls in El Barrio in New York City under the guidance of Maestro Louie Bauzo. In 1977, he started playing Timbales in the genre of Charanga with Orchestra Sublime of New York City, recording his first album doubling up on Bongo and Timbales under the T.R. Label and in 1978, his second album recording under the Label TTH.  During the 1980's and 1990's he became a freelance musician playing with various artists throughout New York City. He has performed with Bassist William Millan, of the original Conjunto Saoco, singers Henry Fiol, Ray Ramos, and Luis Ayala.  Also performed with Yerason, the MTG All Stars Orchestra under the direction of Hector Leguillow, Joe Quijano at Lincoln Center, and various other artists throughout his musical career.    In 2002, he rejoined Sublime now known as SonSublime and recorded on Sonsublime’s Gran Reserva and Bailando Con Sonsublime, their latest CDs playing timbales and bongo until 2015.  His influences and favorite Orchestras have been La Perfecta of Eddie Palmieri, Conjunto Libre, Orchestra Broadway and Orchestra Aragon.  He was awarded the David Melendez Award acknowledging his lifetime commitment to Latin Music and continued effort to promote the Charanga genre.
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Son Del Monte
In 2016, Manuel Rivera established his own Orchestra bringing a particular swinging sound and his long-life dream of having his own orchestra.  He decided to combine the sounds of classical charanga with conjunto sounds, incorporating trombones with flute and violins naming the sound "el chajunto".  This is how Son Del Monte was born, a New York orchestra creating a collective charanga/ conjunto sound while performing unique tunes from various artists paying homage to all the great orchestras of the past, but with its own swing. Manuel Rivera developed music that is captivating and cultivates the swing that the listener and the dancers enjoy. From their awesome stage presence to their memorable song lyrics, the band members have always found a way to leave their mark at every 
venue they perform at.  Son Del Monte consists of 11 or 12 musicians who come from different parts of the Latin community such as Colombia, Panama, Puerto Rico, Spain and New York consisting of the upmost talented and professional musicians in the Latin music industry today.  Son Del Monte’s musicians are: from Puerto Rico Manuel Rivera on Timbales and Director, on Congas Joe Gonzalez, on Piano, Andy Colon, on Bass, Bert Castro, Singer Luis Ayala, from Panama, on Violin Eric Roberto Salazar and virtuoso Marcio Smith Jr. on Flute, from Venezuela, virtuoso, Ali Bello on Violin, from Spain on Trombone, Juanga Lakunza, from Colombia, the Singer Armando Jiménez, from the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, the Singer, Sonero and Güiro player Luis Soto Jr. and from Colombia and Puerto Rico Charlie García on Trombone who has also arranged for the orchestra.   Son Del Monte has performed at prominent venues such as David Rubenstein Lincoln Center Atrium, Carnegie Hall, Central Park Harlem Meer, Orchard Beach, the Maryland Live Casino, the Baltimore Latino Festival, Empire Casino, at festivals and other venues throughout New York City.  Son Del Monte was awarded the Taino National Entertainment Digital Media (TANAE) Award for Band of the Year 2018 and nominated for Band of the Year 2019.  Son Del Monte is also a featured artist with Marty Cohen's Youtube Congahead Video Productions with two videos, Herman and Vengo De Nueva York with more than 15,000 views each.  
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Son Del Monte recorded and released two CD’s available now on all digital media outlets.  Their first CD is entitled, Son Del Monte, Una Charanga Con Algo Mas available has three recorded songs. The songs are:  1. Rumba Omelenko, Lead Singer Luis Ayala, arranged by Charlie Garcia and Composed by Gil Suarez; 2. Vengo De Nueva York, Lead Singer Luis Soto arranged by Charlie Garcia and Willie Millan, Composers Marin Medina and John Peewee Hernandez; and 3. Vamonos Pa' Senegal, Un Homenaje A Gil Saurez, Lead Singer Armando Jimenez arranged by Charlie Garcia, Composer Gil Suarez.  The musicians on this recording are all the original band members from Son Del Monte's inception.  The band members on this CD are,  on  Flute is the  virtuoso  Mauricio Smith
 Jr., on Violins are Eric Salazar and Ali Bello, on Trombone are Michael Pallas, Juanga Lakunza and Charlie Garcia, who arranges for the band, on Piano is Eli Rivera, on Bass is Bert Castro, on Conga is Joe Gonzalez and on Timbales is Manuel Rivera and musical director.  The singers are Luis Ayala, Armando Jimenez and Luis Soto, all known as lead singers and coristas as a testament of their talent. To preview or purchase the songs, please go to
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Son Del Monte’s second CD, Son Del Monte y Los Macheteros, Como Te Gusta A Ti the songs are: 1. Ella No Baila Sola, Lead Singer Armando Jimenez, arranged by Charles Garcia, Composer Lou Perez, 2. Los Macheteros, Lead Singer Luis Ayala, Composer Luis Ayala and arranged by Andy Colon; 3. Pa'La Ocha Tambo, Lead Singer Luis Soto Jr., Composer Eddie Palmieri and arranged by Charles Garcia; 4. Lo Mio Es Todo Original, Lead Singer Armando Jimenez, Composers Marin Medina and Angel Papo Santiago and arranged by Arturo Ortiz; 5. El Chontaduro, Lead Singer Luis Ayala, Composer Charanga Colonial and arranged by Charles Garcia; 6. Herman,  Lead  Singer   Luis  Ayala,  Composer   and   Arranger  by William Millan.    To preview   and  purchase the songs, please go to The musi- cians on this CD are:  On Timbales Manuel Rivera, Conga Joe Gonzalez, Piano Andy Colon, Violins Eric Roberto Salazar and Ali Bello, Trombones Juanga Lakunza and Charles Garcia, Flute Mauricio Smith Jr., Bass Bert Castro, Singers Luis Ayala, Armando Jimenez and Luis Soto Jr.  Guest musicians on Bata Nelson Matthew Gonzalez and on Bass Joey Hernandez.
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