Song of the Day: Roberto Roena y Su Apollo Sound “Que Se Sepa”
In his native Puerto Rico, percussionist Roberto Roena worked his way up from childhood street dancing to a popular local television broadcast to performing worldwide with Cortijo y Su Combo and then El Gran Combo.
“Que Se Sepa” can be found on Roena’s 1973 LP Apollo Sound 5. It’s special to me because it perfectly encapsulates what was happening in the early ’70s melting pot of New York city when Puerto Rican immigrants were injecting their voice into the mixture of innovations that led to the birth of hip-hop culture.
“Que Se Sepa” opens with a tough horn driven drum break and refrain, perfect for a b-boy to set up his floor work with some funky toprock. It then opens up to the classic Fania salsa dura sound. It’s fitting that the song’s lyrics extolls the singer’s dancing skills, as its structure allows a dancer to flow through salsa dance, boogaloo and b-boy styles all in under four minutes.