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Music in the Park: Los Van Van

July 26 @ 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Los Van Van

Salsa superstars Los Van Van are called “the Rolling Stones of Cuba” due to their longevity and status as Cuba’s most popular band. Their sound and style, however, is distinctively their own.

This is rare San Jose appearance of these Havana-based musical pioneers. Music in the Park is pleased to present one of contemporary Cuban music’s most important and influential bands for an outdoor dance party that will be one of the summer of 2024’s musical highlights.

Their name, “let’s go go,” harks back to the go-go music era. Founded in 1970 by the late Juan Formell, they quickly became the island’s favorite dance band, a title they held for years. Their genre-creating sound has evolved over the decades and incorporated the contributions of new generations of musicians that joined the hard working international touring group. Today, drummer and musical director Samuel Formell, Juan’s son, leads the band referred to as the “train” of Cuban music.

At the forefront of Afro-Cuban fusion of rock & roll and son, Los Van Van introduced electronic instruments into Cuban music in its early days and is credited with forging and popularizing subgenres “timba” and “songo,” foundations of the modern Cuban sound. The “songo” style can now be heard throughout the Latin jazz, pop, and fusion world.

In the 1990s, building on folkloric and traditional music mixed with the music of the day, Los Van Van, along with Irakere and NG La Banda, championed a new Cuban sound. In the 2000s, Los Van Van pushed the fusion even further, mixing pop, funk, rock, hip-hop and soul with native traditions that hark back to Africa and took life in the sugar fields of the Caribbean. The band won a Grammy Award in 2000 for its album “Llegó Van Van.”

Los Van Van has captivated audiences throughout Europe, South America and the Caribbean. The continuing US embargo brings them stateside less frequently, but when their irrepressible rhythms make their way here, it’s a reason to celebrate—and dance.


July 26
5:00 pm - 10:00 pm
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Plaza de Cesar Chavez
194 South Market Street
San Jose, CA 95113 United States
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(408) 535-3570
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