Formed in 1976 at the University of Havana with the goal of preserving the traditional Cuban Son, Sierra Maestra have succeeded in their historical mission. Composed of nine musicians on instruments such as tres guitar, bongo, trumpet and percussion, they focus on classic material of the genre (such the songs of Arsenio Rodriguez). At their inception, the Son was in danger of being a lost form, as the big dance bands and jazz groups of the day dominated the scene; however, Sierra Maestra travelled extensively throughout Latin America and Europe in the 1990s, serving as Cuban cultural ambassadors all the while. Powerful lead vocals, tight, bouncy rhythms, soaring trumpets and tasty guitar riffs make their dance music irresistible. Trumpet player Jesus Alemany has since formed his own group, Cubanismo, while tres player Juan de Marcos Gonzalez was fundamental in the Buena Vista Social Club and its associated projects. The emergence of Cuban music on the international stage can be traced directly to this talented group.