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El sonero ha llegado

The first time I ever met Don Sonero, aka Gilberto Velazquez, was at the filming of the eagerly anticipated, Being Latino PSA. After he read the cue cards, Gilberto started singing acapella and the hairs on my neck stood up. All I could think was, “This man has a voice on him!”

The second time I saw Don Sonero, there were a dozen women who agreed with me and kept trying to dance for him, while blocking my view. Naturally, I used what my Mama gave me and not-so-gently got them out of my way. That evening, he was singing cover songs, previously recorded by other Salsa greats, and I found myself looking forward to see what he would do with original material.

“La Verdadera Escena” is the very first recording I ever downloaded. I’m old-school, my Itunes library consists of the cds I actually own, so downloading and adding this to my library without consulting my IT department, aka my kids, was a major step in my musical evolution. And let me just say, it was so worth it.

The first lyrics you hear are, “Don Sonero ha llegado aqui a cantar la salsa dura que te pona a ti a gozar…” and you are already dancing in your chair. The first song is a shout out to all the Salsa greats that set the standard for great Salsa music; Ruben Blades, Hector Lavoe, Celia Cruz, and El Conde among others.

The recording is a delightful mix of Salsa Dura, where the strong percussion and horns take the lead, Salsa Romantica, where Don Sonero’s voice and lyrics send you down a path that leads to a gazebo draped in roses, and the title song where Don Sonero sings about the stereotypes that afflict the urban Latino population.

If you love Salsa music, check out Don Sonero’s “La Verdardera Escena” now available.

“La Salsa que el pueblo pide, con sabor la traigo yo.”

About Eileen Rivera

Eileen was born in The Bronx, to Puerto Rican parents. She grew up thinking the whole world was Latino. Moving to Rockland County in upstate New York taught her it wasn’t. One more move in 1976, brought her to Hudson County, New Jersey where she currently resides. She attended Rutgers-Newark where she majored in Social Work with a minor in Puerto Rican studies. Eileen credits her history professor, Dr. Olga Wagenheim, for the spark and impetus to search out her roots in a pre-computer era. The daughter of a minister, she credits her father for the activism, volunteerism and search for justice that have characterized her adult years.

The mother of two adult daughters, Eileen has worked in the Juvenile Justice system for twenty-eight years. She acts as a liaison between the Juvenile Detention Center and the Juvenile Court.

Writing was something she shared with family. Stories and songs for her children and Christmas tales for the extended family. She now shares her writing with a larger family, the Being Latino family.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.


  1. Very nice. For me it was a little different. It easnt a question about whether hecan sing or not. That I knew when I first heard him sing with a band I played with back in 1996/7. When I heard LA BOMBA SOY YO (IN A MINOR) last year as a single I didnt like it at first. Maybe because the initial mix sounded too saturated (not sure). When the Album released, I bought it out of rrspect for Don’s first solo work and also I believe in supporting my fellow artists. Now ThAT album was a something else. Again, at first I was sure if I liked the consistent changing of musical style (Salsa dura to Romantica to bolero to an RandB-ish style, bolero, etc). But, that passed quickly. Its one of the few albums I still keep and listen to on my iPhone. Not just a song or two, but the whole thing. My hat comes off to Gilbert’s project!

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