It's often funny how sort f fall into things, you know what I mean,"I was flipping through the TV stations and I "happened" to catch this really great movie", or as in this case, I was checking out who the nominees were for the 2011 Grammy's in the Latin Categories, I came across the name "Alex Cuba". Now mind you, I don't pretend to know every Latin artist that's out there, but the name Alex Cuba, rang no bells what so ever.
So of course I do what we all do when we need to know a quick answer...I Googled it! LOL! Much to my surprise I found out that Alex had been nominated and won a 2010 Latin Grammy for "Best New Artist". I'll be honest, you know what really had me curious about Alex's music? His Amazing Afro-Bush! I needed to know what kind of music a man who had the self awareness about himself to wear, not just a huge afro-bush, but one of the most beautifully round afro's that I've seen since Sly of "Sly and the Family Stone".
|Alex Cuba (left), Sylvester (Sly Stone) Stewart (right)|
For the most part that's where the similarities end. Sly Stone was more R&B funk, while Alex, even though he has some of that "throw back" late 70's groove thing going on, is considered Latin Pop. (That just makes me wonder if there is a Latin equivalent to R&B? If any of you out there know the answer please pass it on to me.)
Alex Cuba Band
An Interview with Latin Musician Alex Cuba
So if you happen to stumble upon this article and think to yourself, "Who is this guy?" apparently you made it down this fat in the article, you owe it to yourself to check out Alex Cuba....you just might think he's some of the best Latin Music that you have found.
Singer-songwriter Alex*Cuba hails from Artemisa, Cuba (1 hour west of Havana) and resides in Smithers, B.C. (14 hours north of Vancouver). Musically, he lives everywhere in between. His trademark sugarcane-sweet melodies, pop-soul hooks and rock chords subtly subvert commonly held notions of what Cuban music is. Alex is on the vanguard, crafting a cross-cultural sound that mirrors his geographical journey. Not tied to tradition, this Cuban-Canadian prefers his vintage Gibson over el sencerro (cowbell) anytime. Forgoing conventional stereotypes that typify much of the Latin music landscape, Alex is instead defining his own “Latin Soul” genre. Like the handful of unique, genre-defying artists before him, Alex’ uncompromising “go your own road” approach was difficult and lonely at first, but is now beginning to pay dividends. He has won two JUNO Awards (2006 and 2008) and a SOCAN Award (2009) in Canada, a Latin Grammy Award (2010) for Best New Artist and is nominated for a 2011 Grammy Award in the Best Latin Pop Album category.
From his earliest years in Artemisa, he was immersed in music. Alex's first stage appearance on national TV was at the tender age of four, playing claves (a percussion instrument) in a group directed by his music instructor father. Alex went on to study guitar, tres, percussion and bass, practicing eight hours a day during his teens.
After a stint with his twin brother Adonis to record Morumba Cubana, as The Puentes Brothers, Alex departed from Cuban music norms to follow his own path. His debut CD with the Alex Cuba Band, “Humo De Tabaco”, earned him a Juno award for World Music Album in 2006, with the single “Lo Mismo Que Yo”, featuring Ron Sexsmith charting in the Top 20 at BBC Radio 2. For “Humo”, Alex took UK producer Martin Terefe to Cuba to record the album’s funk infused horns and percussion, a sound that got under Terefe’s skin. By extension, that “Alex*Cuba sound” is now evident on Terefe’s productions for Craig David, Ron Sexsmith and Jason Mraz. (To read more of Alex's wonderful bio please visit his website at http://www.alexcuba.com/ )