Emergence of Van Van Music Group
The legend of Los Van Van Music Group began in late 1969, when Juan Formell left the Reve Orchestra and decided to form his own group. In the beginning, Los Van Van Group took up the innovations that Juan Formell had experimented with the Revé Orchestra, such as: the use of electric bass, organ, electric guitar, replacement of the five-key flute of the Cuban charangas). He also used vocal work from the montage of voices as in the quartets, as well as different orchestral arrangements, especially in the area of the strings, more rhythmically than melodic.
To these changes, it was also agreed that the basic rhythmic cells underwent an evident transformation (with a specific figure of piano and bass). In this aspect, Jose Luis Quintana (Changuito) plays a leading role, by modifying the accents of percussion and establish an extension of the percussive set since he added components to the battery.
Thus, the son genre would be approached with elements of rock and jazz, to give rise to what was known as “songo”. Jose Luis Quintana (Changuito), Raul Cardenas (El Yulo), Cesar Pedroso (Pupi), Fernando Leyva, Jesus Linares, Orlando Canto, Jose Luis Cortes (El Tosco), Julio Noroña, Gerardo Miro, William Sanchez, Jose Luis Martinez and Miguel Angel Rasalps (El Lele), along with Juan Formell, were some of the musicians who, during the 1970s, managed to establish a kind of sonority that has become a permanent seal in the work of Los Van Van, beyond changes in its members. Since then and to this day more than one generation of Cubans has danced and enjoyed with them. Van Van considering them as the best of the genre in the country.
Discography of the Los Van Van Group.
1969- Juan Formell and Los Van Van. Vol. I
1974- Juan Formell and Los Van Van. Vol. II
1974- Juan Formell and Los Van Van. Vol. III
1980- Juan Formell and Los Van Van
1982- El Baile del Buey Cansado
1983- Qué Pista
1984- Anda, Vén y Muévete
1985- La Habana Sí
1986- Eso Que Anda
1987- Al Son del Caribe
1988- El Negro No Tiene Nada
1990- Aquí El Que Baila Gana
1992- Disco Azúcar
1994- Lo Último en Vivo
1995- Ay Dios, Ampárame
1997- Esto Te Pone la Cabeza Mala
1999- Llegó Van Van
2007- Empezo la fiesta (Los Van Van History DVD)
2011- La Maquinaria
2014- La fantasia
Achievements and Recognitions of Van Van Music Group.
The Van Van participated in the Angoulême Jazz Festival, where they performed with Miriam Makeba at the Nimes Fair, where they performed with the Kassav Group from Martinique and the Amiens Jazz Festival, Paris Olympia Theater together with Ruben Blades and Los Seis del Solar group.
Considered by continental critics as the Rolling Stones of salsa, and nationally as El Tren (The Train), Van Van is a mandatory reference when talking about culture in Cuba, since it has remained in the preference of the public of several generations, becoming a vanguard in land of artists. It is borne out by the fact that the orchestra has surpassed record sales with each album, achieved gold and platinum records, and remained in the Caribbean Hit Parade during its four decades of life.
At the beginning of the Van Van’s fourth decade, in 2000, his album “Van Van Van” or “Van Van is Here” was awarded the Latin Grammy for best salsa album recorded by soloists, duets or vocal groups and instruments.
They have toured Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Panama, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, United States, Canada, Spain, Paris, Holland, Rome, Belgium, Sweden, London , Copenhagen, Germany, Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Japan, Puerto Rico.
On September 25, 2012, Van Van was nominated for the Latin Grammy Awards, among Cuban musicians selected in four categories. Van Van, La Maquinaria’s phonogram of the record companies EGREM and ACDAM, which includes dance themes such as Recíbeme and Eso que anda, covers the sonority of the 1980s and 1990s with new arrangements
In June 2013 The Womexs Fair, one of the most recognized in the world of international music – announced Juan Formell and Van Van as winners of the Artist Award 2013, whose award was presented in Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom, from 23 to 27 October 2013.
On May 1, 2014, Juan Formell, a founder and eternal director, disappeared physically. He will live forever in the immense legacy of his work and in Los Van Van.