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Juan de Marcos González

Juan de Marcos González

Cuban bandleader and musician
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Cuban bandleader and musician
Countries Cuba
Occupations Musician Singer
Gender male
Birth 31 December 1953 (Havana)
The details

Juan de Marcos González (born Juan de Marcos González-Cárdenas in January 1954 in Havana, Cuba) is a Cuban bandleader and musician, best known for his work with the Buena Vista Social Club.


Juan de Marcos González was born in the Pueblo Nuevo barrio of Havana to a musical family. His father, Marcos González Mauriz (d March 1990), was a vocalist who performed with prominent bandleader Arsenio Rodríguez. He has two daughters, Gliceria and Laura Lidia González Abreu and one son, Juan de Marcos González Pérez. He studied at nine years old at the Amadeo Roldan Conservatory of Music.

Growing up, González was a fan of American and British rock music before rediscovering his Cuban roots and establishing a "traditional" Cuban band, Sierra Maestra, in 1978. González's stated goal was to keep the torch of Cuban folk music alive for a younger generation. Sierra Maestra has recorded fourteen albums in Cuba, and toured internationally.

González became a key member of the Buena Vista Social Club, using his contacts in the Cuban music world to locate musicians. When Ry Cooder arrived in Havana for recording, González himself was working an "all star" album tribute to the golden era greats of Cuban music, the Afro-Cuban All Stars, featuring many of the same musicians who comprise the Buena Vista Social Club. Subsequently, González led the Afro-Cuban All Stars and Rubén González on their European and American tours, and directed the Buena Vista Social Club concerts in Amsterdam and at Carnegie Hall.

He speaks Russian, English and Spanish and has some knowledge of Lucumi and Abakua.

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