2015 Salsa Rueda Festival - San Francisco - February 19-22 - Hotel Whitcomb - Biggest Cuban Dance Festival in the U.S.A.

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2015 Salsa Rueda Festival - San Francisco - February 19-22 - Hotel Whitcomb - Biggest Cuban Dance Festival in the U.S.A.
2015 USA Tour - 45th Anniversary - FORMELL Y LOS VAN VAN - Direct From Cuba - July 30th - August 24th 2015


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Tuesday, 09 December 2014, 01:42 AM

Another Full Concert (piano-bass closeup)

Van Van with Pupy & Pedrito - June, 2000

This is the legendary late 90s Van Van group with Pedrito Calvo, Mayito Rivera and Robertón Hernández.

If you want to see the band from the front with multiple camera angles, search for the Miami Arena 1999 video, currently on YouTube by Pimienta Records and others and probably still in print as a DVD/CD package.

This video, shot by pianist Robert Schwentker in June of 2000 at the Conga Room in Los Angeles, is of special value for a variety of reasons:

1) It has a lot of closeups of the piano (for those who want to learn piano and history buffs, here are introductory videos for two Beyond Salsa Piano books on Pupy Pedroso (Vol. 10 - Vol. 11).

2) This also results in lots of closeups of Juan Formell's baby bass technique.

3) ... and to a lesser degree, closeups of Samuel Formell, who has a very unusual setup (for him), playing from a standing position as he did in his first job, with Issac Delgado. By this point, Samuel was almost always playing seated at a full drum/timbales set. Probably a snafu with the sound rental company, but as you can see, it doesn't seem to cramp his style in the least.

4) This is within 6 months of the departure of Pedrito Calvo and within 1 year of the departure of Pupy Pedroso.


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Sunday, 07 December 2014, 05:07 AM

Back to Van Van

Back on the topic of Los Van Van's 45th anniverary, we have the updated Discography section and the latest Beyond Salsa video - on the 2nd Pupy Pedroso book and concluding with an epic 18-minute mashup of the avalanche of hooks unleashed by Pupy in his final two decades with the band:

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Saturday, 06 December 2014, 05:31 PM

It's New, It's Baaad, and That's Good:

Es nuevo, es malo, y eso es bueno:

Eliel Lazo & The Cuban Funk Machine

Also/También: Haila in/en Louisville

ENGLISH:  Eliel Lazo & The Cuban Funk Machine are here.  Be funky.  Be VERY funky. 
ESPAÑOL:  Eliel Lazo & The Cuban Funk Machine están aquí.  Sea funky.  Sea MUY funky. 

Read a review of the new CD here / Lee una reseña del nuevo CD aquí
ENGLISH:  US Tour coming (including Chicago 2/6) in February.   
ESPAÑOL:  Eliel vendrá a los Estados Unidos para una gira (incluyendo Chicago 2/6/15) en februaro.

 Haila is coming to Louisville, KY on December 26.   The venue has hosted Charanga Habanera in the past.  More information in the near future. 
ESPAÑOL:  Haila vendrá al Louisville, KY el 26 de diciembre.  El venue ha presentado Charanga Habenera en el pasado. Más información en el futuro cercano. 

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Saturday, 06 December 2014, 08:50 AM

Amazing Weekend in Havana

Los Van Van & Buena Fe Give Free Concerts

Los Van Van @ La Escalinata de la Universidad de la Habana por Ivan Soca PascualPhoto courtesy of Ivan Soca Pascual

Havana has a wonderful tradition of free concerts at the end of the year. They are off to an early start this weekend with two free mega-concerts. The first took place last night on the Stairway of the University of Havana. To put it mildly, the concert was well-attended. Los Van Van closed their national tour with a free concert and also the official release of the new CD "La Fantasía".  If you're in Havana pick up a hard copy. It isn't up at digital retailers yet, but hopefully next week. Samuel has said that it's Van Van's best CD. It's too early for me to say, but it is definitely the best since "Chapeando", maybe even the best since "Llegó...Van Van". Without question it is going to be a favorite of dancers, so keep an eye out for it.

Una Luz Por La Esperanza - Buena Fe Tonight!

Buena Fe concert @ Carlos III y Boyeros

The other big free concert this weekend takes place tonight at Carlos III and Boyeros. Buena Fe are holding a concert in honor of the doctors fighting ebola in Africa. The show starts early at 7:00pm so families with young children can participate. Buena Fe is also working on a new album which should be out soon.

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