Los Van Van

The Best of Los Van Van [Milan]

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Back in 1969, a young Cuban musician called Juan Formell took traditional son by the scruff of the neck and refused to let go. Introducing such novelties as a drum kit, string orchestration, and a fascination with modern keyboard sounds, he gave it an entirely different slant that became known as songo. Within a few years, Los Van Van's unique sound had propelled the group onto the world stage. Formell's sense of bravado has remained true to itself and its legions of followers to this day.

This intoxicating compilation is drawn from four albums in the '90s, and explores their vein of upbeat salsa-oriented dance music, as opposed to the Caribbean rock & roll and synthesized experimentalism of their first two decades. Formell's tight direction and pithy bass lines supports the three lead singers rotating behind the microphone, each delivering his own brand of gruff vocal improvisation and fiery humor. The live "El Tren Se Va" and the justly famous "Soy Todo" show them at their best, and the final astonishing "Este Te Pone La Cabeza Mala" is nothing short of a Cuban magical musicological mystery tour. Enjoy the ride.

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