Sonic Gems: Los Van Van – Ay Dios Amparame!

Some may disagree with me, but, I don’t think there is a group of musicians more illustrative of post- Revolution Cuban music than Los Van Van.  It was led for many years by bassist Juan Formell until he passed in 2014.  He along with Changuito and Pupy are among the most important figures in modern Cuban music.   The music is a unique blend of Cuban son, late 60s rock and an Afro‐Cuban folkloric beat. An interesting side point is that the band’s name more or less means ‘they go, they go’.  And so they have…

The band uses a charanga line up of flute, strings, and rhythm section.  To this base, trombones, synthesizer and drum machines have been added.  This is a different sort of a fusion band.  Starting with that initial grouping of son montuno, rumba and rock and pop, the band later incorporated funk, disco, hip hop and salsa.  As youngsters listened to this music, the forms of songo and timba rose from this band’s influence.  Another interesting side point is that the band’s name also is a play on the idea of those who can do and those who can’t teach.

This Cuban Beatles remain popular in their homeland.  Its sly arrangements will weave a tangle of all of the above to live on in legend long past their days.  For this reason and the fact that Michael Romani can’t stop wanting to dance listen to this work, Aloha Promises Forever will give this unique Cuban salsa album a 10 out of 10.   This is dance music at its best.




About alohapromisesforever

Writer, poet, musician, surfer, father of two princesses.
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