“Remembering Juan Carlos Formell: A Tribute to the Iconic Bassist and Composer of Los Van Van”

2023-05-27 12:36:34

On Friday night, the sad news of the death of Juan Carlos Formell, son of the founder of the emblematic Cuban orchestra Los Van Van, was announced.

The artist who was in the middle of a concert in New York City suffered a heart attack that cost him his life, as confirmed by various media outlets.

When the first 45 minutes of the presentation at the Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, in The Bronx, had already elapsed, the bass player began to feel bad and for this reason they had to suspend the concert and transfer him immediately to a medical institution.

Reportedly, all the musicians of the iconic band left their posts and the stage curtain was immediately dropped, generating great uncertainty among the attendees, the majority of Cuban and Puerto Rican origin.

Four ambulances and two fire trucks arrived at the amphitheatre. Half an hour later the dance show continued when Formell was already hospitalized.

According to what they say, Robertón, one of the vocalists of the group, presented Sebastián as a substitute, presenting him as a Uruguayan bassist based in New York, a faithful follower of the Van Van. Lele, another of the orchestra members added that the South American musician had come to “dance with Van Van and ended up playing” with the orchestra. However, until that minute, nothing was said about Formell’s health.

Juan Carlos, more than Formell’s son

Juan Carlos Formell was 59 years old and was a Cuban bassist, guitarist and composer. He had settled in New York since 1993, and was an active member of the Van Van, an orchestra founded by his father Juan Formell.

From a young age, he received music courses at the Alejandro García Caturla and Amadeo Roldán conservatories in Havana, before completing his studies at the National Art School of Cuba.

According to various experts, he stood out for printing a particular seal as an instrumentalist, and was the accompanist of high-profile figures of Cuban jazz such as Joseíto González, Emiliano Salvador and Guillermo Fragoso.

Songs from a Little Blue House, was his debut album, which was released in 1999 with the Wicklow Records record label. Album that enjoyed great success and was nominated for the Grammy Awards. Then another 4 record productions would come with commendable results as well.

Years later he joined Los Van Van, where he served as bassist and accompanied his brother Samuel in the difficult task of keeping alive the label of the band that his father founded.

Just this Friday in New York the band had begun a tour of the United States and Europe that initially included important performances in San Francisco and San Diego, California.

Presumably these concerts will be canceled, since several members of the group have declared themselves in mourning for the death of someone who, more than Formell’s son, was also a vanvanero, and an outstanding figure of Cuban music.

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