U L T U R E
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.
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,"
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.