To prepare this special issue dedicated to Los Van Van and especially to the band’s founder and leader, Juan Formell, we approached Yaimara, the woman who loved him and was loved by him in the last years of his life, and the mother of the youngest of his six children. Our initial intention was to interview her and ask for her help in compiling and selecting photos.
We had heard many times about her dedication to and love for Formell, and about her simplicity, poise, and warmth. Yaimara visited OnCuba’s office, and her easygoing manner and smile and her honest gaze made it seem as if we had met before; she inspires immediate confidence and has a very pleasant presence.
The first thing that she said to me was, “Tahimi, I’m very grateful for your intentions, but I would rather not do an interview. I’m not important enough for an interview, and I would feel uncomfortable.” I immediately understood what she was trying to say, and we began chatting about her 6-month-old son, Lorenzo, and his father: Juan Formell.
Yaimara talks about Formell in the present: about his tenderness, simplicity, and sincerity. Remembering that he passed away a few months ago saddens her visibly, but her smile soon returns, as if she knows that he will always be with her. When Yaimara talks about Formell, you forget that she is talking about one of this island’s greatest musicians, a man with thousands of fans who interpreted as few could the essence of Cuban culture…. Because Yaimara talks about a love as familiar and earthly as any other.
After chatting for a while and looking at photos of her baby, she promised me that she would write something for our magazine, and she kept her promise.
There are many reasons for Juan Formell’s enduring presence, and Yaimara’s love is one of them.
Neither Juanito, nor Formell, just my love
2014 was an intense year.
Right on December 31, 2013, you said that the new year was going to be unlucky, that even years were no good for you and that 2014 would be awful, just awful.
Unfortunately you were right; your prophetic mind and infinite intelligence foresaw a complicated 2014.
We started off well, defied fate, and together became parents. Lorenzo made us very happy, and for 63 days you relived the excitement of being a father…for the sixth time!
It didn’t last long. You were called, and for everyone else, you left without saying good-bye.
It might sound crazy, or it mind sound real, but for those who have suffered the loss of somebody very beloved, what I’m about to say will not sound that ridiculous or insane:
Maybe people don’t see you with me anymore, maybe you don’t allow yourself to be seen anymore, but one thing I know for sure is that for our son and I, you are not gone; we three continue to be happy together, talking together, enjoying together, and living our eternal love together.
That is why I do not count the days since you are gone, because for us, you are not gone; you will be immortal, and we will always be together, inexorably together—I would say inseparable.