En El Malecón De La Habana – Juan Formell Y Los Van Van
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En El Malecón De La Habana – Los Van Van
Los Van Van recorded En El Malecón De La Habana live, in 2001. The event was staged near
the seafront in Piragua, an open space with a “revised” monument to US imperialism. This is only a few blocks away from where my kids are convinced you get the best ice cream outside Italy- La Coppelia. I’m saying nothing. En El Malecón De La Habana is also the first recording Los Van Van made without pianist, composer and founding member, Cesar Pedroso. Roberto Carlo Rodriquez aka Cucurucho, replaced him and did a fine job.
Apart from the reprise, there are only two songs unique to this recording, Tim-Pop Con Birdland and Mi Mimi. Tim-Pop Con Birdland is very upbeat and was fairly popular. In all honesty, I can’t say I feel it particularly. Mi Mimi was another debut, this for the group’s first female vocalist, Yenisel Valdés, who has recently left Los Van Van after leaving Cuba. I find it immediately forgettable so it’s down to the other tracks.
The rest come from various other albums. Mi Chocolate, Quien No ha Dicho Una Mentira, and Temba, Tumba Y Timba, are from the 1999 release, Llegó Van Van. If you haven’t got that, this might be of added interest to you. Te Pone La Cabeza Mala and Soy Todo were hits from two of the band’s best 90’s albums. They’re nicely done but if you’ve got the studio versions, you probably aren’t missing much. If not, lend them your ears. Recordings by a band as technically excellent as Los Van Van lose little from live performance and can even gain. The songs are generally a bit longer than their studio versions.
Cesar Pedroso formed his own band in 2001. Los Que Son Son studio recorded Que Cosas Tiene La Vida and released it on two albums. One of these was a German release, Timba: The New generation of Latin Music and the other, the EGREM album which took this song’s name.