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Los Van Van

Los Van Van are one of the most important and influential bands in the history of 20th century Cuban pop music. Though the 1990s were pervaded by groups that mixed folkloric and traditional music with the musical trends of the day, and the beginning of the 21st century saw that process go even further, in the 1960s and '70s that Latino fusion sensibility was scarce at best. There were primarily two Cuban groups experimenting with mixing pop, funk, rock, and soul with their native traditions. One of those two was Irakere, and the other, far more long-lasting band was Los Van Van.

Following the revolution, Cuban youth were profiled for talents and predispositions. Children showing potential in athletics were streamlined into sports. Academics, visual arts, and music followed suit. The young musicians who formed Los Van Van had enjoyed conservatory educations from their earliest years, and were experts in theory and performance by their early twenties. The band's key players -- Juan Formell (bandleader, bass player, and songwriter), César "Pupy" Pedroso (piano, songwriter), and José Luis "Changuito" Quintana (drumset/timbales) were fascinated with the soul, go-go, and disco music that dominated U.S. radio waves. They named their dance band Los Van Van after the go-go fad, meaning literally "they go-go!"

The style that the band pioneered took its name from the cross of son and go-go music that the band had created. The style "songo" can now be found throughout the Latin jazz, pop, and fusion world. Los Van Van's debut disc bore the name, solidifying its place in musical history forever. Shortly after the band's formation, they became the island's favorite dance band, a title they held for years.

With the support of the Cuban government, Los Van Van toured and recorded and toured tirelessly throughout the '80s and '90s. They became the best-known Cuban group in the world, maintaining a loyal fan base throughout Europe. Though there was some U.S. interest in the band and their innovations, the politics of the days hedged their ability to break into the U.S. market. While Irakere defected to States, Los Van Van never left Cuba. U.S. interest grew throughout the '90s, peaking with Los Van Van's Grammy Award in 1999 for their 15th original album, Llegó Van Van.

Many founding members have gone on to become successful bandleaders in their own right. César "Pupy" Pedroso formed his own group, Los Que Son, Son, at the turn of the century. Lúis "Changuito" Quintana left the band in 1993 to pursue a Latin jazz career. Many lesser-known members went on to become some of the most influential players in the timba revolution that came in the early '90s.

Los Van Van are widely recognized as a genre-creating band. Alongside artists like the Beatles, Aretha Franklin, and Creedence Clearwater Revival, Los Van Van are distinguished as a band that changed the course of popular music for an entire generation.

Their recordings continued to resonate outside of Cuba, and they experienced a renaissance at home with 2010's Estrellas de Cuba issued by Egrem. The toured globally in the ensuing years, and wowed audiences in Europe and the United States as well as throughout Latin America and even Asia.

Formell passed away in May of 2014; the band was left to decide whether or not to continue. While the conclusion was left in the air, they did complete work on an album that Samuel Formell claimed Juan had already completed work on. In 2015, La Fantasia: Homenaje a Juan Formell was issued by Egrem and billed to Formell y Los Van Van. The set included five of his songs, his bass playing, and his voice on the title track (thoughit was orignally written for Luna Manzanares. It was a hit with critics who ranked with their best albums, and a commercial one as well. Sony Music released the album in North America in early 2016. ~ Evan C. Gutierrez
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Sandunguera

1. Que Palo Es Ese

2. Por Encima Del Nivel

3. Artesano Del Espacio

4. La Habana No Aguanta Mas

5. Habla Claro Camara

6. Sera Que Se Acabo

7. Quien Bien Te Quiera Te Hara Llorar

8. El Baile Del Buey Cansao

9. Cuentame

x

Track List: Tres Decadas De Cuba

1. La Habana Joven

2. Que Le Den Candela

3. La Bomba Soy Yo

4. La Habana Si

5. Canta La Ceiba, Baila La Palma Real

7. Mi Son Va Entero

8. Sandunguera

10. Que Palo Es Ese

12. La Titimania

x

Track List: Bailando Mojao

1. El Buena Gente

2. Artesanos De La Harina

3. Yo No Me Explico Lo Que Tiene

4. El Negro No Tiene Na'

5. Se Acabo El Querer

6. Bailando Mojao

7. Deja La Boberia

8. Que Lo Sepa Mama, Que Se Entere Papa

9. Resolucion

10. Que Domingo!

11. Aqui El Que Baila Gana (Live)

x

Track List: Estrellas De Cuba: Los Van Van

1. Por Encima Del Nivel

2. Ay! Mama Recibeme

3. El Baile Del Buey Cansao

4. Que Pista

5. La Habana No Aguanta Mas

6. Esperando Llamadas

7. La Habana Si

8. Disco Azucar

9. Ese Es Mi Problema

10. Que Le Den Candela

11. Tu No Colabores Si No Es Contigo

12. Sera Que Se Acabo

x

Track List: Live At Miami Arena

Disc 1

1. Introduction (Live)

2. Ya Empezo La Fiesta (Live)

3. Permiso Que Llego Van Van (Live)

4. Potpourri 70's (Live)

5. Sandunguera (Live)

6. Soy Todo (Live)

7. Esto Te Pone La Cabeza Mala (Live)

8. Marilu (Live)

9. El Negro Esta Cocinando (Live)

Disc 2

1. Que Sorpresa (Live)

2. Temba Tumba Timba (Live)

3. Ni Bombones Ni Caramelos (Live)

4. La Fruta (Live)

5. Hoy Se Cumplen Seis Semanas (Live)

6. Van Van (Live)

7. De La Habana a Matanzas (Live)

8. Azucar (Live)

x

Track List: Llego... Van Van

1. Permiso Que Llego Van Van

2. Temba, Tumba, Timba

3. Eso Damelo A Mi

4. La Bomba Soy Yo

5. El Negro Esta Cocinando

6. Somos Cubanos

7. El Cheque

8. Quien No Ha Dicho Una Mentira

9. Mi Chocolate

10. Consuelate Como Yo

11. Appapas Del Calabar

12. Havana City

Comments

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Really authentic Cuban music full of essence. Thanks Formell, you came to stay!!
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Wow que recuerdos!!! !
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sexxy_bunny8 6
Goza papii
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Los mios
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mscampos27
❤️
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Mi Gente!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
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Awesome sounds
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La mejor orquesta del mundo ....y que no le llamen salsa esto es musica cubana .....la mata de toda la musica Afro-caribe. . . . e s t a cancion el caballo cantandola era el difunto Israel kantor la mejor voz que a tenido los van van con el permiso de Pedrito calvo....y el resto de los caballos que han pasado por el tren de la sabrosura... . . A m e n
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Ya finalmente salio el sonido que tenemos todos los Cubanos gracias a ellos ya el mundo sabe el porque somos los que somos Ache pa todos
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elyuma71
que ricura , revolcadera total
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Como????, como Cuba no hay!!!!!!
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izzy96326
Tremendo sonido. Es imposible escuchar a los Van Van y no querer bailar o sentirse feliz.
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The best!
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sexxy_bunny8 6
Oye lo mejor de cuba me traen buenos recuerdos saludos a todos desde las Vegas dale
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Son muy buenos
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me encantan ,lo majer de cuba
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The best van van of cuba
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Quisiera q vinieran a Puerto Rico para el dia nacional de la salsa q es el festival mas importante de salsa d puerto rico
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Estoy loco q vengan a Puerto Rico para ir a verlos
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i love their music one of the best
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LA ORQUESTA CUBANA MAS POPULAR DE TODOS TIEMPOS
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los van van are the titans of cuban son forever.# 1
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yurelrizo
LO MEJOR DE LA MUSICA POPULAR CUBANA DE TODOS LOS TIEMPOS Y QUE SE PONGA BRAVO EL QUE SE PONGA.
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THE BEST EVER LOS VAN VAN. I LOVE IT.
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antoncub
esto es lo mejor de lo nuestro!!!
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A great alternate live version of "..Natural.. " from the Lo Ultimo En Vivo CD. Shows off VV's delicious syncopations -- ritmos de vozes included. Love the violins. As always they elevate the texture and rhythm and syncopations .
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Repartero

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