Los Van Van Planning to Tour the U.S. in Summer 2015

Los Van Van are headed to the States…

Contemporary Cuba’s iconic dance band is planning an extensive U.S. tour this summer.

Los Van Van

The tour will be the band’s fifth in the United States, but the first without Van Van founder Juan Formell, who died last May at the age of 71.

Formell’s son Samuel, the band’s drummer, took over leadership of the group when his father died. He recently told The Associated Press that he expects the tour to get underway in late July. It will include stops in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Houston, San Francisco and other cities.

The younger Formell and the group completed their latest album, Fantasia, after Juan Formell’s death, with the title track dedicated to Formell.

“Any conversation about Cuba has to mention [Los Van Van], and we are sure that wherever Juanito’s music goes, his spirit will be there too,” the Van Van singer said at a massive outdoor concert at the University of Havana in December, celebrating the group’s 45th anniversary.

Samuel Formell, 47, told the AP that he’s in favor of ending the U.S. embargo and that he would like to see free elections in Cuba.

“There has to be urgent change — urgent change to save that country,” he said, referring to Cuba.

Get a glimpse of the current state of free enterprise on the streets of Havana in this video for the song “No Le Temo a La Vida.” It’s the last video featuring Juan Formell.


Los Van Van Orchestra Launches New Album, “La Fantasia”

Cuba’s magical music train is back on the tracks…

The Los Van Van orchestra, popularly known as “Cuba’s magical music train,” has launched a new album to celebrate its 45th year.

Los Van Van

The album is dedicated to its founder, bass player Juan Formell, who led the musical group up until his death in May.

La Fantasia,” a number composed by Formell, provides the title for the album, which goes on sale in Cuba December 5 and abroad in 2015.

It’s the first recording undertaken by the new director of Los Van Van, Samuel Formell, Juan’ son.

The album was produced by the EGREM recording and editing company of Cuba, but the mix and mastering were done in the United States with high-tech equipment unavailable on the island.

Since its founding in 1969, the orchestra has recorded some 30 discs, one of which – Llego Van Van – won a 1999 Grammy Award.

On the island, Juan Formell is considered the architect of a revolution in popular dance music with his creation of the songo, a musical style based on the Cuban son, and is known as a great “musical storyteller” able to portray clearly and affectionately moments in the everyday life of Cubans.

In support of the album and the group’s anniversary, Los Van Van will launch a nationwide tour in Cuba.