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Juan Formell, founder of GRAMMY-winning Cuban dance band Los Van Van, died May 1 in Havana. A cause of death was not disclosed. He was 71. Considered one of Cuba's most influential musicians, Formell formed Los Van Van in 1969 in an effort to refresh Cuban dance music and create a new sound, incorporating trombones, synthesizers, drum machines, and pop-inflected vocal harmonies. Under Formell's leadership, the group developed songo, a Cuban genre combining elements of the rumba and popular dance music. Formell released several albums with Los Van Van, including Llego … Van Van — Van Van Is Here, which won a 1999 GRAMMY for Best Salsa Performance. He also earned four Latin GRAMMY nominations throughout his career, including a 2000 nomination for Salsa Performance for Llego … Van Van — Van Van Is Here. In 2013 Formell received a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Latin Recording Academy.
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