Bobby Valentin, also known as "El Rey del Bajo" (King of the Bass) (born June 9, 1941), is a musician and salsa bandleader.

Early years

Valentin, born Roberto Valentin in Orocovis, Puerto Rico, was taught by his father to play the guitar at a young age. When his mother died in 1947,he went to live with his older sister and was raised in the town of Coamo; there he received his primary education and studied music. When he 11 years old, he participated in a local talent contest with a trio which he had formed. He played the guitar and sang for the trio and they won the first place prize. One of his teachers suggested that he attend the Jose I. Quinton Academy of Music, which he did - here he learned to play the trumpet.

In 1956, Valentin moved with his family to New York City where he attended George Washington High School and continued to take music lessons. In 1958, he went to play for Joe Quijano but, shortly after he joined Willie Rosario, who also came from his same neighborhood and played in his band.

Musical career

In 1963, Valentin joined Tito Rodriguez (after not being hired by Tito in a recording session because of his age, he was given a chance and was added to his regular band) and traveled twice with Tito's orchestra to Venezuela. He also made musical arrangements for Tito and at times for Charlie Palmieri, Joe Quijano, Willie Rosario, and Ray Barretto. In 1965, he formed his own band and was signed by the Fania Record Label. He recorded "El Mensajero" (The Messenger) and "Young Man With a Horn". He held his first concert in Puerto Rico during that period of time.


External audio

You may listen to Bobby Valentín's "El Caiman" here.

While in Puerto Rico, in 1969, his bass player did not show up. Valentin found someone to play the trumpet and he played the bass. Since then, he has played the bass for his band. He has also played the bass on occasion, for the bands of Willie Rosario, Raphy Leavitt and Vicentico Valdés (he produced one of Valdés' albums, even writing its string arrangements as a personal goal). Valentin was also the musical arranger for the Fania All Stars, and is featured in a live recording of the conglomerate's song "Descarga Fania" (which he also wrote) playing a bass guitar solo.

In 1975, Valentin left Fania and founded his own record label "Bronco Records" and released the recordings of "Va a la Carcel" Vol 1 and Vol 2, recorded "live" at "El Oso Blanco", Puerto Rico's oldest state penitentiary. At the time, Marvin Santiago was the singer on Valentín's band; his biggest hit with Valentín was "Soy Boricua", an ode to Puerto Rican nationality that has since become a patriotic song for the pro-independence faction of the island. In 1978, salsa singer Cano Estremera made his singing debut with Valentin's orchestra and recorded various major hits for the band, particularly the Roberto Angleró song "La boda de ella" and "Manuel García".

During the years Valentin has been featured in recordings (and occasional live appearances) by Larry Harlow, Ismael Miranda, Roberto Roena, Cheo Feliciano and Celia Cruz. He also provided backdrop for the Billyván Santiago (Marvin's youngest brother) song "Mata la cucaracha", a sleeper hit in Puerto Rico during the 2002 Christmas season.


Bobby Valentin continues to record and play with his band, his latest release being "La Gran Reunion" (The Grand Reunion). In 2004, Bobby Valentin's "En Vivo Desde Bellas Artes" was released in DVD form. In 2006 Bobby Valentin's "El Caiman" can be heard (or played) the video game Scarface. His last disc called "Evolución" was released in 2008.

See also

Puerto Rico portal

Biography portal

List of famous Puerto Ricans,


This article is about the Puerto Rican musician. For the American singer, see Bobby V. For the British violinist, see Bobby Valentino (British musician).