It can be quite overwhelming to delve into the choices available in Latin music. Here are some of the best. The first in our list is presented below. Add your comments to contribute to the list... what is in your library?
Los Van Van - Timba.com says:
After the revolution, Cuba adopted the Soviet strategy of testing young children for a variety of aptitudes including musical talent and offering promising students conservatory training from an early age. While this important seed began to grow, the existing generation of adult musicians began listening to American music in earnest and absorbing the influences of jazz and the explosion of creativity in rock & R&B in late 60's and early 70's. The most important of these, and probably the most important figure in the history of Cuban music, was Juan Formell, who was the musical director of Orquesta Revé when he and a number of other members broke away to form Los Van Van. Van Van has remained Cuba's most popular group for 32 years and counting.
Afro Cuban All-Stars: from Myspace:
Juan de Marcos González is one of the most important figures in Cuban music today. He has a mission to show the world the wealth, diversity and vitality of Cuban music. His work with the Afro-Cuban All Stars, the Buena Vista Social Club, Rubén González, Ibrahim Ferrer, Sierra Maestra and others has made an extraordinary contribution to raising the profile of Cuban music throughout the world. However, neither his name nor his crucial contribution is well known to the general public and he remains something of an unsung hero of Cuban music.
Listen online at their Myspace Page
Tito Puente "The King of Mambo"
Born Ernest Anthony Puente, Jr., Tito Puente is internationally recognized for his enormous and significant contributions to Latin music as a bandleader, composer, arranger, percussionist, and mentor. Popularly known as the “El Rey del Timbal” and the “King of Mambo”, he recorded more than 100 albums, published more than 400 compositions, and won five Grammy awards.
YouTube: Tito Puente plays with Sheila E. and Pete Escovedo in 1989
Celia Cruz "The Queen of Salsa"
Celia Cruz (Ursula Hilaria Celia Caridad Cruz Alfonso) (October 21, 1925 - July 16, 2003) was a Cuban salsa singer who spent most of her career living and working in the United States. Cruz was one of the most successful Cuban performers of the 20th century, with twenty-two gold albums to her name. Leila Cobo of Billboard Magazine once said "Cruz is undisputedly the best-known and most influential female figure in the history of Afro-Cuban music."
Listen at Myspace and watch her in these vintage spots in 1967 and 1960