North America / USA / New York
Los Van Van returns to Lehman Center Performing Arts to celebrate their 50th Anniversary
For this special concert the Cuban legendary orchestra will join with the most popular lead Los Van Van vocalists: Mario “Mayito” Rivera and Pedro Calvo
Date: Saturday, June 1st
Cost: $50 – $100
Venue: 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West Bronx, New York 10468
Low cost onsite parking available for $5!
Lehman Center for the Performing Arts presents the return of Grammy-winning dance orchestra, Formell y Los Van Van, who bring direct from Cuba their blend of Afro-Cuban, disco and funk back to Lehman Center to celebrate their 50th Anniversary on Saturday, June 1st at 8PM.
Heralded as Cuba’s greatest dance orchestra known worldwide for their iconic live performances, Formell y Los Van Van features three of the late founder Juan Formell‘s children: Samuel Formell (Leader and Drummer/Timbalero) , Juan-Carlos Formell (Bassist) and the family’s youngest daughter, Vanessa Formell (lead vocalist).
BIO: Formell y Los Van Van, nicknamed the “Cuban Music Train,” is regarded as one of the most influential bands in the history of 20th century Cuban popular music. Founded in 1969 by Juan Formell when he was 27 years old, the band pioneered Songo, a hybrid rhythm that blended Cuba’s native folkloric son music with the go-go of the 1970s and has electrified dance floors in Havana for over forty-five years.
The band’s original members were: Juan Formell (bandleader, bass player, and songwriter), Cesar “Pupy” Pedroso (piano, songwriter), and Jose Luis “Changuito” Quintana (drums and timbales). Each one were music conservatory trained from a young age and were fascinated with the soul, go-go and disco music that dominated U.S. radio.
They named their dance band “Los Van Van” (which literally means “they go-go”) after the go-go fad, and pioneered the hybrid of son and go-go music – Songo – which can now be found throughout Latin jazz, pop, and world fusion.
And if the genius of Songo wasn’t enough, they also developed the complex rhythmic style that became known as Timba that was adapted by other bands in the ‘90s. Los Van Van soon became one of the best-known Cuban groups in the world, maintaining a loyal fan base throughout Latin America, Europe and Japan propelled by hits such as: “La Sandunguera,” “Anda, Ven y Muévete,” “Te Traigo” and “Yuya Martinez.”
In 1993, Changuito left the band and was replaced by Formell’s son Samuel who also proved to be an outstanding composer as evidenced by the song: “Te Pone La Cabeza Mala”, the title track of one of their best albums. Although American politics hindered their ability to break into the U.S. market, their popularity in the U.S. grew throughout the ’90s, and the band toured the U.S. for the first time in 1997, including a memorable concert at Lehman Center.
Two years later, Los Van Van was honored with the GRAMMY® Award for Best Salsa Performance for their fifteenth album, Llegó…Van Van — Van Van is Here and in 2013, the Latin Recording Academy awarded Juan Formell with a special Grammy for a Lifetime Achievement of Artistic Excellence.
With over 40 albums to their credit, Formell y Los Van Van’s 2015 album Homenaje A Juan Formell: La Fantasia, was 80% completed at the time of Juan Formell’s death in 2014 and was finished under the direction of his son Samuel with another son, Juan-Carlos Formell.
The album’s release on Reyes Records in December, 2014 was on the 45th anniversary of the band’s founding and it features several of the band’s hit dance tracks refreshed with contemporary arrangements as well as many new songs including the widely popular: “Somos Diferentes”, “Todo se Acabó” and “La Moda”. Sony Music released it worldwide in 2016 and it earned a 2017 Grammy nomination for the Best Tropical Latin Album.
The group’s most recent album “Los Van Van son La Patria” is scheduled to be released on Cuba’s Engrem label later this summer.
BIO: Mario “Mayito” Rivera is nicknamed “El Poeta de La Rumba” for his ability to vocally interpret all forms of Cuban music in both modern and traditional styles with a colorful range that can be powerfully dynamic or tender and soft.
He was born in Pinar del Rio, Cuba, and has degrees from both the Escuela Nacional de Arte and the Instituto Superior de Arte. After college, he joined the band of Cuban singer Albita Rodríguez and played bass in Grupo Moncada.
From 1992 to 2011, Mayito was the characteristic voice and face of the extremely successful Cuban band, Los Van Van. He sang many of the band’s salsa hits, for which he was rewarded with a Latin GRAMMY® and two nominations.
Bio: Pedro “Pedrito” Calvo is a popular Cuban-born vocalist known for his charismatic and unique singing style which often includes clever word play and expressive rhythmic vocal sounds. Pedrito started his professional career singing with his father’s orchestra and years after with several Cuban orchestras including:
La Riviera, La Orquesta de Julio Valdés, and La Ritmo Oriental with hits such as: “Mi Socio Manolo” and “Aquí el que Manda es Mulé”. He was the most famous for his time (1974-2001) with Los Van Van, where he was part of the infamous lead singing trio of Los Van Van along with Mayito Rivera and Roberto Hernández.