Juan Formell / Aug 2, 1942 - May 1, 2014

The great Cuban bassist and composer Juan Formell is best known for being the leader of Los Van Van, and for being the creator of the songo, a fusion of Afro-Cuban, són, charanga, jazz, salsa, soul, classical and pop.

Born into a musical family in Havana, he started his career in the late '50s, eventually playing with Elena Burke. He formed Van Van in 1969 after leading Orchestra Revé (and turning them into Changüí '68) and set about becoming one of the most important figures in the history of Cuban music.

Los Van Van were the leading band on the island for decades and they helped popularized the use of electronics in Cuban music, updating and fusing the old into new concepts. By the '80s Van Van had become a famous attraction around the globe and one of the most popular Latin bands in the world. They had to wait until the late '90s to play in the US but ended up winning a Grammy. His son Juan Carlos now leads the band (and plays on Peace & Rhythm LP-001, Ola Fresca's Elixir).

Tagged: bassist, Celebrate Icons, charanga, jazz, Juan Formell, Los Van Van, Orquesta Reve, salsa!, son, soul/funk

Older Post Newer Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published