Juan Campos Cárdenas "Chan"

BA Instructors Chan 800x239

Juan "Chan" Campos Cárdenas was born on February 19, 1938 in Havana, Cuba, in the tenement "El África" of the "Cayo Hueso" neighborhood. His mother gave him the nickname "Chan" because of his love for a popular radio program of the time called "Chan Li Po" (a kind of Chinese-Cuban vaudeville comedy). After living in "El África" for 20 years, he moved to the neighborhood of "Belén". He began performing rumba along with Rolando Rodriguez Oliva "Malanga" (not to be confused with the one from Union de Reyes, Matanzas). In "El África" he witnessed (legendary) rumberos like Manguín, Gancedo, and El Cojo Mojáo. Of the six brothers in his family, three dedicated themselves to rumba: Regalado (deceased), Ricardo (El Chiqui), and Chan. He participated in comparsas (carnaval groups) including El Brillante Negro, Los Guaracheros, La Sultana, La Mexicana, and Los Componedores de Batea de Cayo Hueso. With friends from "El África" he co-founded "La Estrella de Pueblo Nuevo" with Gilberto Sierra, Manguín, Malanga, Ricardo Carballo, Regalado and Roberto Maza.

In his youth he worked as a longshoreman to make ends meet. He also worked for a time at Radio Marianao (a local radio station). Chan was a member of Papín y sus Rumberos before the group changed it's name to (the famous) cuartet Los Papines, with Malanga, Fidel (who lived in Los Pocitos), and Fuico. He was also in the group Patakín. He is most famously associated with Grupo Maritimo Portuario which, in 1981, become Yoruba Andabo, with his co-founders Francisco Hernandez Mora "Pancho Quinto", Calixto Callavas, Justo Marino Garcia "El Marino", Geovani del Pino Rodriguez, Jacinto Scull Castillo "El Chori", Pedro Celestino Fariñas, Ricardo Campos Lastra "El Chiqui", and others

Chan holds the ceremonial rank of "Isué" of the fraternal Abakuá society "Muñanga Efó". In the Ocha (Orisha) community he is Omo Oshún, and also a "Bakonfula" in the Palo Congo tradition.