Juan Climaco Formell Cortina (1942-2014). Director, bassist, arranger, composer, singer, and record producer. It was one of the most important figures of Cuban popular music culture of XX and XXI century. Founder and director for more than four decades of the legendary band Los Van Van. I was able to maintain the particular sonority, in an environment conducive to the existence of such groupings environment. Author of a lot of songs that recreate a unique way of life of the Cuban people. He was ambassador of Cuban music and teacher of several generations of artists.
He realized his first musical studies with his father Francisco Formell, flutist, pianist and arranger and continued after autodidact. In his training as a composer and instrumentalist bass guitar, he could have the guidance of renowned Cuban musicians like Felix Guerrero, Rafael Somavilla, Armando Romeu, Antonio Tano and Orestes Urfe.
In his career he worked in various musical groups, including Pedro Justiz (Peruchín), the Guillermo Rubalcaba, the orchestra of Carlos Faxas - where he started as an orchestrator and composer with titles like And I know, from my memories, the material and I am your light to construe the Cuban singer Elena Burke.
It was very important in the artistic development of Formell joining the Orquesta Reve in 1967 where valuable stylistic and structural Cuban charanga orchestras contributions made, as was the incorporation of electric bass and organeta (keyboard) instead of the double bass and piano acoustic, rhythmic acoustic treatment and amplification in the violins, the use of the flute and battery system that replaced the five keys flute and timbales, the vocal work for three voices instead of unison, among others.
Creations as Tuesday, Yuya Martínez, What ball, which bolón, skinny, I spent all Thursday and were some of the most representative of this stage. For these years he kept his work with Elena Burke and resumed the practice of interpreting his works only with the guitar as he had done in his first artistic presentations when he was buff troubadour.
In late 1969 he created Los Van Van with which continued and expanded its creative work full of searches and experimentation relying primarily on the maximum use of expressive resources are. In this orientation the Songo, a name that he and Jose Luis Quintana (Changuito) gave a new pace that proved decisive in his later creation emerged. In 1981 he included trombones in his brass band to reinforce the central register of his orchestra.
This stage with Los Van Van, are many of his most famous creations as I bring, Chirrín chirrán, I got, I got, no, no, The Dancing cansao ox Above level, Havana can not take more, come see and move, space Craft, La titimanía, the black does not have anythin, among many others.
Together with his creative work in dance music, Formell kept his creative work in the line of the song and the music for poems by Nicolas Guillen as When I came into this world from the series My son entero; He wrote music for theater among which are the barbecue, directed by Abraham Rodriguez, 1984 and live in Santa Fe playwright Nicolas Dorr, 1986; for film composed the soundtrack Birds swinging the shotgun director Rolando Diaz, 1984; and television Wheel casino Jose Milian, 1992.
In addition, he made numerous presentations as an author and performer in national events promoted by cultural institutions and international tours around the world. His creations and artistic results with his orchestra have become models for other musical groups in Cuba and abroad. He recorded numerous albums with EGREM and other record companies and in 1999 won the Grammy Award for his CD "He came ... Van Van" (Van Van is here).
Prizes and awards
In 1976, he was recognized by the people of Barranquisimanto.
In 1988 he is awarded the Plaque of recognition of the city of Quito, Ecuador, and the year itself receives the medal "Alejo Carpentier" granted to Cubans and extrajeros citizens in recognition of outstanding merits achieved and the work done in the enrichment of national culture.
In 1989 he creditor Award popularity.
He was awarded the "Order Felix Varela of First Degree" (2002), by agreement of the State Council "taking into account his long and distinguished career, the contributions made in the field of music, the constant struggle for the defense of the cultural values of our nation and for its highly creative for the enjoyment of our people work, which has contributed to the enrichment of our national culture. " In addition, it is recognized Juan Formell "for his dedication to the development of Cuban popular music, reflecting in it the genuine feelings of our people, their optimism and vitality expressed with proverbial cubanía and high aesthetic and artistic values, and for their loyalty the people and the country, serving her with humility and selflessness. "
In 2003 he was awarded the National Music Prize that Cubans living in Cuba and resident musicians is given by the set of his work in the fields of creation and interpretation.
He received in 2008 the "Special World Music Award" awarded by the jury of the World Entertainment Organization (WEO).
In March 2010 he received an honorary doctorate from the Higher Institute of Arts in recognition of his contributions to Cuban culture and in particular for his work displayed in front of the leader of the popular dance music of the island orchestra Los Van Van.
The formal transfer of title took place at the Teatro Auditorium Amadeo Roldan, usually reserved for classical music and the most important events of this event, a decision that was interpreted as the ratification of this highly recognized professional musician who throughout his race tried to merge the classic with the most authentically popular, consolidating a privileged position between the dancing public and also among connoisseurs of chords and scores.
In the year 2010 itself, he received the Key to the City of Cardenas, one of the official symbols awarded by the Assembly of People's Power in the municipality of the province of Matanzas illustrious visitors.
In July 2012 he received the "Gitana Tropical" award, the highest honor awarded by the Provincial Directorate of Culture of Havana. The award was presented to Master hands of its director, Mayra Lassale Noval.
In 2013 he received the "WOMEX Artist Award 2013". The prize is awarded since 1999 to outstanding figures of international music in recognition of musical excellence, social, commercial success, the political impact and trajectory of such projects, broken down into three categories: Womex Award for Artists, Prize Womex Professional Excellence Label and Womex Award.
The Latin Recording Academy decided to recognize with the Special Award for Excellence 2013 Musical composer and Cuban bandleader Juan Formell.
In the US city of Los Angeles, the Academy did know that this lauro exalts "to performers who have made creative contributions of importance in their careers," and in the case of the Cuban pointed out: "Juan Formell is the true definition of an innovator music".
After receiving the results of the 2013 Latin Grammy, Formell said:
"I am honored and want to share this joy with all the musicians of our country"
"My life has been, he stressed entirely devoted to music and only makes sense when people make it their own and enjoy. In the artistic order have received several awards, including the National Music fills me with pride. I thank the Latin Academy's gesture distinguish myself, particularly since recognition of such power not only in this hemisphere my work and Los Van Van, but also at the forefront of Cuban music "
Latin Grammy Award for Musical Excellence 2013, was handed over to the popular Cuban musician in ceremony in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States, 20 November 2013. Formell received the award along with other important Latin American artists such as Venezuelan Oscar lion, Toto la Momposina Colombian, Brazilian Roberto Menescal, Argentina Palito Ortega, the American Eddie Palmieri, and the Spanish Miguel Rios.