THE AFRO-CUBAN ALL STARS (ACAS) is a unique orchestra; devoted to promoting the complete story of Cuban music. With each show the orchestra exposes Cuba’s rich musical history interpreting all of its musical genres. Since their inception, many of the Afro Cuban All Stars’ musicians have become international super stars, including the brilliant performers Ruben Gonzalez, Guillermo Rubalcava, and Manuel “The Guajiro” Mirabal.
The Afro-Cuban All Stars genesis was the early 1990s. Back then, Juan de Marcos was the band leader of a traditional son band, Sierra Maestra. He had always dreamed of creating an album celebrating the classic Cuban sound of the ‘50s. So Juan leveraged the success of Sierra Maestra and convinced his record label, World Circuit to make his dream a reality. He went on to develop the Afro Cuban All Stars concept. Juan de Marcos sought out many great musicians, who are now revered world wide including Ibrahim Ferrer, Omara, Portuondo and Ruben Gonzalez.
In March of 1996 Juan de Marcos & ACAS recorded A Toda Cuba Le Gusta, featuring nearly 60 performers. Then, with celebrated artists Compay Segundo, Eliades Ochoa, and noted American guitarist Ry Cooder, the unforgettable Buena Vista Social Club CD was recorded. An added bonus was the miraculous solo album Introducing Ruben Gonzalez recorded on a minuscule budget, in merely two live sessions with simple orchestrations conducted at the studio by Juan de Marcos. It was destiny and Introducing Ruben Gonzalez still is one of the most successful of the “Buena Vista” series of recordings.
In 1997 Juan de Marcos & ACAS toured all over Europe with a multi-generational band; their ages ranging from 19 to 90. With nearly 2 decades of tremendous success – including four Grammy nominations, several award winning documentaries films, and being recipients of many other distinctions – the Afro Cuban All Stars are the best-known Cuban orchestra after Irakere.
With the Afro-Cuban All Stars, Juan de Marcos has developed much more than a musical group, he created an institution. With this formula Juan stretches his creative wings; fusing contemporary, traditional and in essence, the future styles of Cuban music. He fluidly adjusts the orchestra’s line-up of musicians to best reflect the various styles from the past eras featured in their performances. The current line-up of ACAS consists of the finest Cuban expatriate musicians, all alumni of Cuba’s greatest bands. The Afro Cuban All Stars tour is a band constantly telling the story of Cuban music to the rest of the world.
JUAN de MARCOS GONZÁLEZ is a Cuban bandleader, the architect of the legendary Afro-Cuban All Stars, (the foundation for The Buena Vista Social Club) and the founder of another successful Cuban band, Sierra Maestra. To Juan de Marcos, music is religious medicine. Finding spiritual solace playing the sacred rhythms of his ancestors; Juan De Marcos’ compositions often evoke healing memories in his audiences.
As a child in a musical household Juan de Marcos was trained at the feet of the Maestros. From his father, Marcos González; a singer for Arsenio Rodriguez’s Orchestra; to his Tio (Uncle), famed pianist of the Buena Vista Social Club; Ruben González, Juan’s mission is the preservation of his rich musical inheritance. He arranged conducted and produced The Buena Vista Social Club recordings to fulfill a dream; creating musical tributes that cured like a fountain of youth for those Cuban musicians whose era was thought long gone. González became a bridge builder connecting the past and the future, the elders with the youth.
Juan De Marcos’ melodic story authenticates the blessing of his African ancestors. González has a special formula for each and every performance. There is a tremendous “fiesta” happening on stage, with an “All Star” cast of Cuba’s finest musicians to include his daughters and wife; culminating in an unforgettable show reminiscent of a night in Havana.