Best Salsa from Cuba on Tour

los van van

The Cuban Salsa Legend

LOS VAN VAN is the flagship orchestra of Cuban popular dance music. Already on December 4, 1969 this 16-piece orchestra, founded by composer, bassist, arranger and National Music Award winner Juan Formell, had its first public concert. Today, more than 50 years later, LOS VAN VAN are still the favorite group in Cuba. After Juan Formell’s death in May 2014 his son and worldclass drummer Samuel took over the leadership of the group.

Known as El Tren de la Música Cubana, LOS VAN VAN are internationally considered one of the most influential bands in tropical and salsa music. Winner of the Grammy in 2000 for their album ‘Llegó Van Van Van’, the group has won numerous of the most important national and international awards and recognitions. 

The orchestra has been the cradle of prestigious musicians and is the creator and advocate of SONGO – soon to be recognized as a new rhythm of its own among the popular Cuban rhythms. The influences are so varied that they range from traditional Cuban son, Afro-Cuban and Cuban folk rhythms to Rock n’ Roll, Funk and Pop. The group is distinguished by the use of the picaresque in their lyrics and has been chronicling Cuban life for more than 5 decades, placing many phrases in popular slang. LOS VAN VAN are an obligatory reference when talking about culture in Cuba and have remained in the preference of the public for several generations. ‘I’m Vanvanero’ and ‘Van Van Van is the huge thing’, or simple ‘Van Van is Cuba’ are expressions recognized by all Cubans.  

About the founder – Juan C. Formell Cortina

Juan Formell has always played a wide variety of rhythms such as son, jazz and Cuban folk music. Before founding LOS VAN VAN, he was musical director for artists such as Elena Burke and the Revé Orchestra. That broad experience has allowed Formell to acquire a unique sound and created the basis of his reputation as a musical innovator. In LOS VAN VAN Formell has fused the instrumentation of the classic charanga orchestra, with an emphasis on flute and violin, with North American elements such as electric guitar and drums. He coined the term «songo» to identify his new sound. His powerful compositions have always made headlines in Cuban life, with great success on the island and among Salsa fans worldwide.


Samuel Formell – Drums, Bandleader 

Vanessa Formell  – Vocals 

Armando Cantero «Mandy» – Vocals 

Roberto Hernandez «Roberton» – Vocals 

Roberto Vazquez – Bass 

Abdel Rasalps «Lele» – Vocals 

Eduardo Silvera – Congas

Julio Noroña – Güiro

Alvaro Collado – Trombone 

Hansel Woo – Trombone

Ivanovi Garzon – Trombone 

Jorge Leliebre – Flute, Background Vocals 

Irving Frontela – Violin

Ricardo Labrada – Violin

Boris Luna – Key Board 

XXX – Piano