As a classically-trained bassist, virtuoso guitarist and visionary songwriter, Juan-Carlos Formell had all the elements to become a voice of his generation – but instead found his work suppressed by Cuba's government-controlled music industry because his music didn’t fit into any official category.
Frustrated by the system that prevented him from performing or recording his compositions, Juan-Carlos fled to the United States in 1993, with a mission to create a new wave of Cuban music. He settled in New York City where he began performing his music on the guitar in the subway, and found work playing bass with salsa bands. A year later, he started his own band, and found a niche for his music in alternative venues in downtown Manhattan. His years of struggle were vindicated when he was signed to a major record label in 1999, and his debut album was nominated for a Grammy in 2000.
A decade later, Juan-Carlos Formell is an internationally-known artist with five critically-acclaimed albums. His innovative work has been featured in books on Cuban and world music; he has recived accolades comparing him to iconic guitarist/composers such as Caetano Veloso, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Joao Gilberto, Jackson Browne, Neil Young, Steve Earle and Nick Drake.