Havana Caliente Records recently released a DVD of the historic live recording of Los Van Van’s highly controversial show at Miami Arena in October 9, 1999 to critical acclaim. Entitled Van Van Live at Miami Arena, the album chronicles the evening’s events and the band’s highly exuberant performance. With 5,000 protesters outside the venue, media coverage spanned the country.
This live recording captures the spirit and excitement of the band’s first performance ever in Miami featuring founding members Juan Formell and Cesar “Pupi” Pedroso as well as the great baritone Pedrito Calvo. Highlights include performances of their first single “Marilu” (1969), the classic “Van Van Sandunguera” (1983), “Soy Todo: Ay Dios Amparame!” (1995), and “Permiso Que Llego Van Van” (1999) from their Grammy winning album.Los Van Van is Cuba’s ultimate dance band and their music embraces the
traditions of a charanga orchestra, son, Afro Latin grooves along with strong
jazz, funk and rock and roll beats.
Against all odds in Miami, Los Van Van defended themselves against agitators and
unfounded accusations prior to the October 9th show. Even Miami’s mayor got into
the action calling them “the official Communist band of Fidel Castro”. In the
words of Los Van Van’s musical director Juan Formell, the band “represents the
music, and we are part of Cuba’s rich musical history…we do not speak of
politics nor do we represent Cuba’s government. Our music speaks of the people
and we try to make them feel great through our songs; we make them dance.”
Before and during the performance, Los Van Van fans defied protestors and were
escorted by police bearing shield and riot helmets in order to protect
themselves from angry demonstrators. The strained atmosphere and high tension
still produced one of the best live shows of all time. Los Van Van and their
fans would not be defeated.
Buy Van Van Live at Miami Arena
and Los Van Van in Concert.
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.