Juan Formell, who played bass and led the popular Cuban band Los Van Van, has died of liver disease. He was 71.
Formell was born in Havana in 1942 and started his professional music career at the age of 15. He worked in cabarets, radio and television and was bassist for the band Revolutionary Police by 1959.
The bassist formed Los Van Van in 1969 and is credited with mixing son with salsa as well as bringing electronic instrumentation to the Cuban musical form. The band was known for hits including “Te Traigo,” “Yuya Martinez,” and “El Negro No Tiene Na.” Los Van Van won a Grammy in 1999 for the album “Van Van is Here.” Formell himself was awarded a Grammy last year for musical excellence.
Our thoughts are with Formell’s family and friends.