Van Van, the train of the Cuban music
- Submitted by: admin
- Arts and Culture
- Culture and Traditions
- 12 / 01 / 2009
After 40 years in the stages Van Van is still "eso que anda". They don't go out of fashion, they linger in the audience’s preference and they are the best orchestra in Cuba. It’s impossible to speak of the band without praising their songs, the seal they have left in the music of the island.
A lot has to be said about them and its founding father Juan Formell, National Prize for Music and who has Beatles as his idols as well as Benny More’s music.
The recent documentary film "Eso que anda", produced by Ian Padron makes a summary of the history in four decades of work from the testimonies of its members: the musicians who belonged and those gone but “who are still Van Van."
The documentary exploits all the spice and rhythm of Van Van; it could not be any another way if we are mentioning Cuba’s greatest band. You feel like rushing out to dance after watching this documentary film.
The images show the band members during the great national tour they made in 2006: great musicians who are good-natured, charismatic who walk the streets of different cities of Cuba. They interact with people, they talk and even improvise songs with local musicians spontaneously because they are an inseparable part of the people, it’s thanks to them that they exist.
Van Van’s popularity is unquestionable. During the tour thousands of people attended the squares with towering figures like 270 thousand spectators in Santiago de Cuba and 100 thousand in Guantanamo.
They were the boom of the time and they are still the best. As one of their refrains goes "There’s plenty of Van Van for a while". On Formell’s opinion, their success is due to the communication established with dancers, in giving people what they
That’s why it is said that they are the narrators of their time, that has made them legitimate promoters of the Cuban identity, and that makes of Formell a troubadour, as singer and songwriter Pablo Milanes qualifies him. José Luis Quintana (Changuito) and Cesar Pedroso (Pupy) accompanied Formell since the beginnings in the search of that authentic sound.
They coined a seal; everyone knows when Van Van is playing. They have known how to speak with each epoch; it can be noticed in the lyrics of their songs. But at the same time we can say that the orchestra's sound has not been contaminated, it has
evolved being the same: "I am Van Van the same as always". That stability has been possible thanks to the genius of the elders next to the youngest.
The documentary film "Eso que anda" had to be also homage to the maestro of salsa music: San Juan Formell - as some people call him -. He has the main characteristic of an artist: his people love him. That’s why they are already part of the history of all those who have listened to them, those of us who have learned to dance with them. Thanks to Formell and his musicians all those who are Cubans will always need Van Van wherever they are.
They have a spot in the hearts of all Cubans. At least I always want them to perform every January first at the Antimperialist Tribune in the Havana Seawall because that’s a fine start of the year. There’s no discussion: Van Van will
still be “eso que anda...”