COMMUNITY NEWS * A Tribute to Juan Formell


02-05-2014: We are shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of Juan Formell, legendary frontman of Cuban band, Los Van Van who won last year's WOMEX Artist Award. We offer our heartfelt condolences to his friends and family.

Together with Los Van Van, Formell set the bar for Cuban music, providing a musical backdrop to the decades of change the country has experienced since Formell founded the group in 1969.

Formell's visionary approach to instrumentation brought new sounds and concepts into Cuban dance music, blending charanga-style violins and flute with a trombone section, adding drums and introducing electric guitar, bass and keyboards. Fusing influences from contemporary rock and jazz with Afro-Cuban roots, Formell and timbales-player Changuito created a new rhythm they named 'songo', which gave birth to a whole genre. This innovative spirit as well as a commitment to connecting with audiences kept Formell and Los Van Van at the top, inspiring not only successive generations of Cubans but also audiences around the world to fill the dancefloors whenever they played and receiving top honours like a Latin Grammy and the WOMEX Artist Award at WOMEX 13 (Photo: Yannis Psathas)

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