He may be from Artemisa, Cuba, and currently reside in Smithers, B.C., but musically, Alex Cuba lives everywhere in between.
The Juno Award winning musician is playing a show at the Rockwater Grill and Bar on Tuesday March 19.
His trademark sugarcane-sweet melodies, pop-soul hooks and rock chords subtly subvert commonly held notions of what Cuban music is. Forging conventional stereotypes that pigeonhole much of the Latin music landscape, Cuba is instead defining his own “Latin Soul” genre.
From his earliest years in Artemisa, he was immersed in music. His first stage appearance on national TV was at age four, playing in a group directed by his music instructor father.
Since then, he has gone on to study guitar, percussion, and bass, often practising eight hours a day during his teens. All that hard work payed off, and his debut CD with the Alex Cuba Band, Humo De Tobaco, yearned him a Juno Award for World Music Album in 2006.
After a musical and spiritual evolution, Cuba returned to the studio with co-producer Joby Baker to record Agua Del Poso, which released in 2007. Acclaimed for its blend of tempo, instrumentation and songwriting, the album is a clear evolution from the debut. It also earned Cuba his second Juno in 2008.
Critical to his success has been constant touring with a live show that has been described as explosive. Again, his visionary rebel nature is revealed in the fact that contrary to the prevailing Cuban and Latin big band formations, Cuba performs as a trio.
The simplicity, power, and sheer efficiency of this formation has stolen the stage from bands quadruple their size, and has confused many production teams. Doing more with less is an ever present mantra for Alex Cuba.
His show at the Rockwater starts at 9 p.m. Tickets are $15.