Monday, October 19, 2015

Blazing New Trails: Juan Formell and Los Van Van with "Chapeando"

Chapeando is the title of today's random tune. The performers are Juan Formell and Los Van Van. Los Van Van is considered the most well-known post-revolutionary Cuban musical group and Formell is one of the most important figures in contemporary Cuban music. Formell formed Los Van Van in 1969 after breaking with Orquesta Revé where he had been musical director. Los Van Van infused Cuban son with elements of North American pop to try to capture the imagination of Cuba's younger generation. And it worked as the band gained commercial popularity by shattering previous formulaic restrictions on Cuban music. The band continued to innovate through the years, introducing new instrumentation, harmonies and arrangements never before used in Cuban music. In the 80s, Formell added trombones and was the first Cuban group to use synthesizers and drum machines. The band launched the careers of many well known Cuban artists today. Los Van Van continues to perform despite the death of Formell in 2014. Chapeando can be found on their 2005 album of the same name.