6th Annual Salsa Fiesta with Mayito Rivera!

Start summer SIZZLINGLY with the Latin music and dance highlight of the year- the 6th Annual Minnesota Salsa Fiesta, featuring Mayito Rivera, direct from Havana, Cuba!

One of the top salsa singers in the world, Mayito Rivera presents dynamic shows rich in musicality and rhythm. For a generation he was the voice of the legendary Cuban band Los Van Van with whom he won a Grammy. Later Rivera’s solo CD ‘Negrito Bailador’ was also nominated for a Grammy. A master of many styles - salsa, timba, rumba, son, cha cha cha, and more- Rivera is hugely popular both in Cuba and throughout the globe.

Rivera rarely performs in the United States due to difficulty of obtaining immigration visas for his Cuba based band. However now there is solution in the form of a new American-Cuban collaboration that will debut at Minnesota Salsa Fiesta and may be working for years to come.

Rivera will be backed up by Minneapolis-based salsa orchestra Charanga Tropical, for this one night expanded to 18-pieces with strings, horn section, back-up singers and full Latin rhythm section. Charanga Tropical plays more than local salsa music. In 2015 the band became the first U.S. group ever to tour Cuba and perform at Havana’s International Danzón Festival. In 2016 Charanga Tropical released its CD ‘In Cuba,’ recorded in the same Havana studios as ‘Buena Vista Social Club.’

For this show only Charanga Tropical’s 18-piece edition will feature an all-star collection of Latin talent including Cuban singer/pianist Viviana Pintado, Cuban singer Zuzel Balbín from Malamanya, and musicians from Salsa del Soul, Tropical Zone, Havana Gypsies, and other Minnesota ensembles. Traveling from Chicago to perform will also be exceptional coroistas Franklin Paz and Juan Castro and Latin jazzer Craig Russo.

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Van Van to close national tour with great birthday concert

With a great concert at the Havana University Steps to celebrate their 45 anniversary on December 4, the Juan Formell y Los Van Van popular orchestra – re-baptized as homage to founder director Juan Formell - will close the national tour started in July.

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Los Van Van at Habanarte

The famous Cuban band, Los Van Van, will delight Cuban and foreign salsa fans at the Habanarte Festival currently underway in the Cuban capital.
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Concertgoers in Camagüey Dance to the Rhythm of Los Van Van

With a concert in the city of Camagüey on Wednesday evening, the Cuban band Los Van Van wrapped up the first leg of a promotional tour of Cuba, an event which has been highly acclaimed by islanders in each stage of the country, frontman Samuel Formell told the press. Hits like “Recíbeme”, “La maquinaria”, “Historia verdadera”, “Llegó el tren” and “Ya nos vamos” made some 50,000 concertgoers dance the night away at the Ignacio Agramonte Revolution Square in this city, some 530 km east of Havana.

Speaking to the press, the son of late Juan Formell - founder-leader of the band- said how gratifying it has been for them to observe the love and affection the Cuban people feel for his father and for what the band have done since its foundation in 1969.

Juan Formell, who had been the frontman of the band for almost 45 years, is an inspiration for this tour which started in Artemisa province and will momentarily be interrupted because of commitments abroad.      

The people have filled the arenas where Los Van Van have been playing in this tour. There the band have brought a wide sample of their repertoire starting with songs that were hits in the 19970’s until their most recent themes.

The performance of this band in Camagüey coincided with the 88th birthday of the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution Fidel Castro, whom Samuel Formel called a very special person.

Once they tour Latin America and likely the United States, they will retake the tour of Cuba in the eastern portion of it and then they will hold a final concert in Havana on December 4th to mark the band’s 45th anniversary.   

Ahead of their concert, Los Van Van were awarded the Espejo de Paciencia Prize in recognition for their indisputable contributions to the popular danceable music of Cuba.

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Los Van Van to dedicate sole concert in France to Juan Formell

On occasion of the 45th anniversary of the foundation of Los Van Van, the popular Cuban band will offer a sole concert in France, next Saturday. It will also be dedicated to its founder Juan Formell, who died recently in Havana.

According to PL, the performance will take place on a 16-square meters floating stage over the famous Enghien-les-Bains lake, found to the north of Paris, with the expected attendance of around 10 thousand people.

Dance schools from France and Europe will dance to the rhythm of the band during this free performance. Famous songs such as El Buey Cansao, Marilú and Azúcar will be interpreted, according to the executive producer Carmen Mayans.

The concert will be directed by Dominique Roland, from the Enghien les Bains Arts Center, together with the Abdala Studios, from Havana.

Several former members of the band, among them Pedrito Calvo and Ángel Bonne will reach France to take part in the performance.

The legendary band was founded in 1969 by the bass player, composer and arranger Juan Formell, who won many awards throughout his career, among them the National Music Award and the Special Latin Grammy Award in 2013.

The band is currently undertaking a tour around Europe since May 26 and they will reach France next Friday, as part of the last stage of the tour.

Translation: Karen López (Cubarte)

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