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Tom Ehrlich - Artes de Cuba 2018 part 4

ARTES DE CUBA

KENNEDY CENTER, WASHINGTON, D.C.

PART 4 MAY 19, 2018

TEXT AND PHOTOS BY TOM EHRLICH © 2018

It was appropriate that the last major group to perform at Artes de Cuba was Los Van Van.  The most recognized and popular Cuban musical group since 1969, Los Van Van continues to internationally thrive and produce great music under the direction of Samuel Formell, the son of the late founder Juan Formell who many consider one of the most important figures in the history of Cuban music.

The group is a multi-generational mix of an original member Julio Noroña (Güiro, percussion), long time members Álvaro Collado, Hugo Morejón, Edmundo "Mundo" Pina (trombones), Samuel Formell (leader, drums), Roberto "Robertón" Hernández (vocals), Jorge Leliebre (flute, vocals) Adbel "Lele" Rasalps Sotolongo (vocals), Irving Frontela (violin) and Boris Luna (keyboard), more recent members Armando "Mandy" Cantero Abreu (vocals), Efrain Chibás Wilson (piano), Yoel Cuesta (congas), Ricardo Maikel Labrada Comas (violin), Juan Carlos Formell (bass) and Vanessa Formell (vocals).

The latest version of El Tren de Cuba includes Samuel, Juan Carlos and Vanessa Formell.

Samuel Formell the driving force behind Los Van Van's excitement

Van Van's front line Abdel Rasalps Sotolongo "Lele", Vanessa Formell, Roberto Hernández "Robertón", and Armando Cantero Abreu "Mandy"

Julio Noroña (güiro), left Edmundo Pina "Mundo", Álvaro Collado and Hugo Morejón ( trombones)

Juan Carlos Formell (Bass), Efrain Chibás Wilson (piano) and Mundo Pina (keyboard)

Vanessa Formell, Robertón and Mandy

Boris Luna (keyboard), Joel Cuesta (congas), Jorge Leiebre (flute), Irving Frontela (violin) and Ricardo Maikel Labrada Cornas (violin)

Vanessa Formell and Samuel Formell (drum set)

Boris Luna (keyboard), Joel Cuesta (congas), Jorge Leiebre (flute), Irving Frontela (violin) and Ricardo Maikel Labrada Cornas (violin)

Vanessa and Lele

Mandy  Cantero

Lele and Mandy

Robertón and Mandy

Samuel and the vocalists

Shortly after the beginning of the concert the isles and space in front of the stage filled with dancers inspite of the ushers' attempt to clear the isles.  The crowd stood for most of the concert as Van Van filled the theater with their typical excitement.

I have seen Mandy perform with Van Van numerous times, but I have never seen him so animated continually displaying numerous dance moves throughout the concert.

Vanessa's voice and stage presence were outstanding.

 

UP NEXT WILL BE THE LAST MUSIC GROUP OF ARTES DE CUBA MIAMI BASED TIEMPO LIBRE.

Monday, 11 June 2018, 10:16 PM