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Havana.  June 10, 2014

Thousands dance to the rhythm of Los Van Van in France

More than 15,000 people enjoyed a concert by Cuba’s most popular band, Los Van Van, in France, where the group celebrated its 45th anniversary, and honored its recently deceased founder and leader, Juan Formell.


The popular Cuban group is celebrating its 45th anniversary.

The audience gathered along the lakeshore north of Enghien-les-Bains, sang and danced to the rhythm of Los Van Van, until the early morning hours, in a show which lasted more than four hours, reported Prensa Latina.

"Truly we feel very content with the work we have done tonight. It is astonishing to see how the public gathered here knows the repertory of Los Van Van," Pedrito Calvo, former vocalist of the group, commented to PL.

Speaking about the legendary Juan Formell, he stated that the bandleader was an outstanding musician, composer and arranger, saying that he was an authentic Cuban, which is why his music will stand the test of time. "I am proud to have worked with him in the band, where I learned a great deal about the profession and also from a human point of view," he said.

Pedrito Calvo, Angel Bonne and Isaac Delgado were among the artists invited to the concert, co-produced by Dominique Roland, director of the Enghien-les-Bains Arts Cener and Abdala studios, Cuba. "I was deeply moved, because this show which should have been put on with Juan Formell, and ended up being a tribute to the great artist who died May 1," said Roland.

From a 16 square meter floating platform, situated in front of the lake’s river, Los Van Van delighted those present with old songs such as "Marilú," "El Buey Cansao" and "Eso que anda," and more recent ones like "Azúcar" and "Ay Dios Ampárame."

"The legacy which my father left is very great. Over more than four decades the band has remained a favorite of Cubans," said Samuel Formell, Juan Formell’s son and current director of the group. He recalled that his father revolutionized music, creating songo from son, with the inclusion of drums, the base, electric guitar and keyboard.

This tribute to the founder of Los Van Van, one of the most important figures of Cuban culture in the 20th and 21st centuries, was captured on DVD. Before the concert, a meeting about business opportunities in Cuba took place in Enghien-les-Bans, with the participation of Cuban ambassador to France, Héctor Igarza, authorities from the local mayor’s office, business representatives, members of the diplomatic corps and Unesco. Igarza emphasized the historic and cultural links between Cuba and France, and stated that the celebration of Los Van Van’s 45th anniversary is an opportunity to strengthen ties between the two countries.
 

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