Los Van Van
Songwriter/bass player Juan Formell (Havana, Cuba) formed Cubas enigmatic Los Van Van in 1969 after a year of tutelage under renowned band leader Elio Revé in Orquesta Revé. Often credited with the invention of songo, a new Cuban sound influenced by rock, jazz and Brazilian music, Los Van Van became one of the Cubas most influential and progressive dance bands of the post-revolutionary era. While songos beat is essentially a funky son montuno, it also uses the violin and flute sound of charanga, making Los Van Vans sound one of the most sophisticated in salsa. Despite these airs, Los Van Van is decidedly against élitism - their shows are always dance parties, and their songs tell the stories of the everyday Cuban citizen. However, the most important change the band incorporated was the electrification of salsa music, led by fusion-style electric bass and synthesizers. Los Van Van pioneered hybrid...