Drummer Juan de Marcos González was born in La Habana in 1954 and raised there in the barrio Pueblo Nuevo, a neighbourhood where many musical legends lived. In his early teens, Compay Segundo moved next door. Juan de Marcos' family was a musical one; his father sang with several very popular orchestras during the 40s and 50s, such as Arsenio Rodríguez' conjunto.
Juan de Marcos began as a rock'n'roller, although that music and language was prohibited in Cuba during that time, when he was studying hydraulic engineering and Russian at university.
De Marcos González, who has worked as a consulate at the Agronomic Science Institute in Havana, formed the Afro-Cuban All Stars shortly after the disbanding of Sierra Maestra, the group with whom he had attracted global attention since 1978. De Marcos González was member and co-founder of this traditional Cuban ensemble.
González is being described as "one of the driving forces behind the Buena Vista Social Club", having had in mind for years the idea to record an album with veteran musicians. When the project started to take shape, it was he who gathered the All Stars. He also directed the concerts in Amsterdam and New York.