Los Van Van
One could argue that Los Van Van are the most important band in the history of modern Cuban dance music, if only for creating a sound that has conquered dancefloors the world over. At their inception in 1969, they were inspired to mix rock with Cuban Son, and throughout the '70s, they added trombones to a band that already featured violins, loads of percussion and drums, electric keyboards and bass, giving a contemporary Salsa flavor to their overall sound. Rhythmically, they were the originators of a variant of the Cuban Son called "songo," and for years they have performed regularly to enthusiastic audiences in Europe, Japan and Latin America; in 1997, they were finally given visas to perform in the U.S., and the reception was ecstatic. Sporting a trio of superb lead singers who also dance, their irresistible chorus sing-alongs are underscored by spine-crawling counter-rhythms that change as songs shift into higher gears. Although their sound has always been contemporary, their popularity in Cuba extends across all generations.