Rei Alvarez is the lead singer, lyricist, composer and visual artist for Bio Ritmo. Born in Ponce, Puerto Rico in 1968, he comes from a long family lineage of musicians and poets, including blood ties to the great Juan Morel-Campos, Father of Puerto Rican “Danza” music. He was an art student at Virginia Commonwealth University and drummer for a local dub-reggae band when he met Jorge Negron who coincidentally was also an artist and native of Ponce, Puerto Rico. Together with local rock drummer Jim Thomson they founded an experimental percussion ensemble in 1991, which they named Bio Ritmo (Bio Rhythms). Alvarez initially played timbales for the group but after leaving for a year stint in NYC, he returned to Richmond and rejoined as lead singer.
Alvarez is a leading creative force behind Bio Ritmo, responsible for all the lyrics and author of many of the original compositions. Every musical decision passes through his hands and although never formally trained his intuitive and natural talents surpass most. He is recognized in the salsa world as a leading lyricist and sonero (singer of salsa) for his innovative style, powerful lyrics and canny poetic use of the Spanish language.
Alvarez also works as a visual artist and is responsible for all of Bio Ritmo’s album art since 2002. He is inspired by Puerto Rican folk art and is most notable recognized for his visual interpretations of the Mascara del Vejigante (Vejigante Mask). In 2011 three of his paintings were featured at an art show in Ponce, Puerto dedicated to the Mascara Del Vejigante.
On the side Alvarez also sings and writes for Miramar, an off-project lead by Bio Ritmo’s pianist Marlysse Simmons that performs classic bolero music (Latin American blues) from Puerto Rico and the Americas. He is also an avid music collector known for his diverse worldly vinyl collection and regularly featured as a DJ at events in the region.