Los Van Van

Los Van Van is a flagship orchestra of Cuban popular music, founded in 1969 by the composer, bassist and arranger Juan Formell. After his death, in May 2014, his son Samuel Formell became director of the group.

Considered internationally as the “Rolling Stones of salsa”, and within the Island as “The Train of Cuban Music”, Los Van Van has been the birthplace of iconic songs and albums and is the group that created and defends the songo, At the same time, it has received influences as varied as rock and roll, funk and pop. The orchestra is distinguished by the use of picaresque in its lyrics, which is why it has been a chronicler of its times and has placed many phrases in popular slang. Great Cuban artists began their careers or have passed through Los Van Van before undertaking their personal projects, from César Pupy Pedroso or Pedrito Calvo, to Mayito Rivera and Ángel Bonne, to name a few.

In five decades of existence, Los VanVan have published more than thirty albums, and have received numerous awards and recognitions inside and outside Cuba. Among the most important is the Grammy for Best Salsa Album in 2000 for Llegó… Van Van (Habana Caliente, 1999); they have also received two other Grammy nominations (for La Fantasía in 2017 and Legado in 2019) and five nominations to the Latin Grammy (La Maquinaria, Chapeando, Van Van Live at Miami Arena, En el malecón de La Habana and Llegó… Van Van).

The band is an obligatory reference when talking about culture in Cuba and has remained in the public’s preference for several generations; it has toured half the world and has remained among the most listened to by Cubans since its founding. Their most recent album, Modo Van Van (Amboss Media, 2023) celebrates 55 years since the band was created and its immense legacy to Cuban music and, above all, to the dancer.