Juan Formell

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Juan Formell
Juan Formell in 2013.
Juan Formell in 2013.
Background information
Birth nameJuan Clímaco Formell Cortina[1][2]
Born(1942-08-02)August 2, 1942
Havana, Cuba
DiedMay 1, 2014(2014-05-01) (aged 71)
Havana, Cuba
GenresSalsa music
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, composer, arranger
Years active1957–2014

Juan Climaco Formell Cortina (August 2, 1942 – May 1, 2014) was a Cuban bassist, composer, and arranger, best known as the director of Los Van Van. He was a creator of popular danceable music and credited with bringing electronic instrumentation into the Cuban musical form.

His full name was Juan Clímaco (John Climacus) Formell Cortina.

His professional activity started in 1957 as musician of cabaret orchestras, radio and television. In 1959 he worked as bassist of Musical Band of Revolutionary Police. He died of liver disease at the age of 71 in 2014.[3][4][5][6][7][8]


In 1999, Juan Formell received a Grammy Award (Latin/Best Salsa Performance) for his work on the album "Llegó... Van Van – Van Van Is Here", recorded at Abdala Studios.


  1. ^ Muere Juan Fornell
  2. ^ Ficha Juan Fornell en EcuRed
  3. ^ "Murió Juan Formell, fundador y director de los Van Van". Juventud Rebelde. May 1, 2014.
  4. ^ Gerard, Charley D. Music from Cuba: Mongo Santamaria, Chocolate Armenteros and Other Stateside Cuban Musicians. Greenwood Press, 2001.
  5. ^ Walter Clark. From Tejano to Tango: Essays on Latin American Popular Music (Perspectives in Global Pop). Routledge, 2002.
  6. ^ Frances R. Aparicio (Editor), Candida F. Jaquez (Editor). Musical Migrations: Transnationalism and Cultural Hybridity in Latin/o America, Volume I. Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.
  7. ^ Ed Morales. The Latin Beat: The Rhythms and Roots of Latin Music, from Bossa Nova to Salsa and Beyond. Da Capo Press, 2003.
  8. ^ "Cuban band leader Juan Formell dead at 71". Reuters. May 2, 2014.

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