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Juan Carlos Formell


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La Habana, Cuba (1964 – present)

Juan-Carlos Formell’s work has been defined as “the magical realism of music”.

Born in Havana, Cuba in 1964, Juan-Carlos is a fourth generation musician: singer, songwriter, guitarist, and bassist. However, life was difficult. “While still in my twenties, at a time when most musicians are full of hope, I was resigned to a future of marginalization,” Juan-Carlos recalls.

In 1993 he fled to the United States to make his own music. He went to New York where he established a band, cubalibre. In 1998 he was signed to the world music label Wicklow Records. Juan-Carlos teamed up with the legendary producer and engineer John Fischbach to make his debut CD, songs from a little blue house. His years of struggle in exile were vindicated when the album received a nomination for the Grammy 2000.

His next release, in 2002, also produced by John Fischbach, was the critically-acclaimed “las calles del paraiso”(EMI Latin). Then, after several years of touring with his band and some major concerts — with Buena Vista Social Club veteran Eliades Ochoa, and world music stars Cesaria Evora, Milton Nascimento and Susana Baca — Juan-Carlos decided to take on the challenge of a solo guitar project. Inspired by a sojourn in New Orleans, Juan-Carlos returned to the Crescent City in May of 2005 to record “cemeteries & desire”, which was released by Narada Records in August 2005. The album features powerful original ballads — songs now haunted by the devastation of the city.

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