Senate Recognizes 60-Year Musical Trajectory of Roberto Roena
SAN JUAN – Sen. Ramón Luis Nieves presented Friday a motion to congratulate at the upper chamber percussionist, orchestra director and choreographer Roberto Roena in recognition of his 60 years in music.
“I am convinced that one of the strengths of Puerto Rico is the creativity of people, and within the creative industries, the most important is the music industry,” Nieves said. “This country has produced two musical genres that have had global transcendence, and one of these is salsa, with our musicians having been around the world with the Puerto Rican flag in hand.”
Receiving the recognition, Roena expressed his commitment to the craft and his gratitude to his fellow musicians.
“I will always be an artist. Thanks to all my colleagues,” said Roena, who was accompanied by artists and musicians including Willie Rosario, Bobby Valentín and Ismael Rivera Jr.
Roena was born on Jan. 16, 1940, in the Dulces Labios sector of Mayagüez, and when he was 9-years-old, he moved with his family to the Santurce sector of San Juan. Along with his brother, he began to participate in talent shows, which led to being hired on a weekly basis in the TV show “La Taberna India” on channel 2, where he met famous bandleader Rafael Cortijo.
At 16 one of his dreams came true when Cortijo invited him to play in New York, where they performed at the famous venues Palladium and Teatro Puerto Rico. Cortijo found in Roena a born percussionist, and his break came along when he substituted Cortijo’s bongo player, and from there on, Roena’s career took off.