QUÉ SUERTE HE TENIDO DE NACER ROBERTO ROENA This is one of Roberto Roena’s favorite albums. “Qué Suerte He Tenido De Nacer” is the eleventh recording of the Apollo Sound and on it, Robertito debutted as singer of the song “Sigo Buscando Un Amor” Nevertheless, after a decade of hits, “Qué Suerte He Tenido De Nacer” did not attain the resonance of “Tú Loco, Loco Y Yo Tranquilo” and that of “Mi Desengaño”. However, with time, the LP has been recognized as one of the most honest and sincere efforts of the discographic trajectory of Roberto Roena. The precursor of the concept of the symphonic bomba, the performance of the melodious rhythm of the AfroBoricua folklore with strings, is found on the album “Qué Suerte He Tenido De Nacer”. The bomba, the Afro-Antillean heritage that Robertito learned from his teacher and mentor Rafael Cortijo, is disguised here in classic colors.

The concept, purified a few years later by Lalo Rodríguez on the album “El Niño, El Hombre, El Soñador y El Loco”, was recreated with unequalled beauty by the music arranger Louis García, author of the beautiful passages for violins and violas that, in counterpoints with oboes and clarinets from the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra, elevates the original bomba of Jossie León performed by Tito Cruz, to a level of musical sophistication without precedent in the genre of folklore. The content of the bomba “Algún Día Será”, as was to be expected in 1980, capitalized on the formula of the song with meaning introduced by Rubén Blades in his recordings with Willie Colón and in compositions such as El Cantante, popularized by Héctor Lavoe. Thus, the sequence begins with “El Aplauso”, a son inspired by Jossie León in the melancholy way of singers who are unknown to the public. After the interpretation by Tito Cruz, the son singer Carlos Santos distinguishes himself with a sublime and sentimental version of the ballad “Qué Suerte He Tenido De Nacer” by Alberto Cortez, repeating the success he obtained on the previous album with his version of El Progreso by Roberto Carlos. From “Sigo Buscando Un Amor”, the third track of the sequence, Roberto Roena told us that Jerry Masucci wanted this song to be performed by Héctor Lavoe. When we were practicing the number, the guy (Jerry) arrived at the studio and asked about the song. He asked me if it could be given to Héctor. And I told him no. I recognize that if the song were to be sung by Héctor it would have been a success. I said to him: “Jerry, Héctor is THE singer, but I have three singers. And now I am going to sing it myself”. He told me that I was crazy, Roena remembered while laughing loudly. The truth is that in this way Robertito joined together with the nucleus of directors of the Fania orchestras, such as Larry Harlow, Papo Lucca, Johnny Pacheco and Willie Colón, who had made inroads, even if only once, as singers. Of course, Roena’s interpretation was not a success on American radio. It did not even retain its original arrangement. He does not sing it live and today it is a rarity in salsa. In the track sequence Roena uses the bomba “Yo Soy De Ley”, interpreted by Carlos Santos, who, in an arrangement by Papo Lucca, also accomplishes his goal with the hit “Trago Amargo”, inspired by the theme of disaffection, making up a large part of the work of the romantic ballad that was introduced in the 1980s and that exercised great influence on the salsa movement. The songs are respected because they are expressions of happiness, love and sadness and because they are the prevailing feelings of the people.

Tito Cruz and Carlos Santos sing them like this, moving between the cadence of the pachanga and the cumbia, in “Canción De Las Canciones”, another significant contribution to the genre. Roberto Roena finishes the recording with a fusion of salsa and disco music, so trendy at the beginning of the 1980s. “Todos Quieren Saber” is sung by his buddy Mario Álvarez Cora, a colleague from the time of the Combo de Cortijo who, besides performing as a trumpeter for the Apollo Sound, also recorded various boleros. For Roberto Roena, “Qué Suerte He Tenido De Nacer” is one of the greatest achievements of his discography career. This is a diversified record. Thank God, I prepared myself well to work hard on the rhythm and orchestration. In “Qué Suerte He Tenido De Nacer” I was way ahead. It is one of my favorites”.

Credits Mario Álvarez Cora – Trumpet Fernando Marcano – Trumpet Elliot Feijoo -Trumpet Lutty Maldonado -Trombone Coco Andújar – Tenor Saxophone, Flute Efraín Hernández – Bass Mario Román Jr. – Piano Cuqui Santos – Timbales Papo Pepín – Congas Roberto Roena – Bongo, Bell Singers – Carlos Santos, Tito Cruz Producer – Roberto Roena Executive Producer – Jerry Masucci Arrangements – Louis García (“El Aplauso”, “Sigo Buscando Un Amor”, “Canción De Las Canciones”, “Algún Día Será”, “Todos Quieren Saber” ), Elías López (“Qué Suerte He Tenido De Nacer”), Jenny Prieto (“Yo Soy La Ley”), Papo Lucca (“Trago Amargo Original Album Art Director – Tony Green Original Album Design – Ron Levine

Written by Jaime Torres Torres