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L.A. Beat

Alex Cuba brings a world of influences to Grammy nominated CD “Healer”

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If you can’t get to Cuba this winter, get a taste of Cuban culture and music when Cuban born, Smithers B.C. based musician Alex Cuba comes back to the Geomatic Attic, Jan. 20.
He begins his latest tour hot on the heels of  being nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Latin pop Album his 2015  CD “Healer.”Alex Cuba returns to Lethbridge, Jan. 20. Photo Submitted
He received the announcement  right after winning a Latin Grammy Award for best singer/ songwriter, so he had high hopes he would get a Grammy nomination, though it still surprised him.

“I was pretty excited about it. I’m on west coast time and they made the announcement in East coast time, so I got a text from my friend at 6 in the morning about it and I couldn’t go back to sleep,” he enthused from Smithers, where he is finishing  the last details of the tour itinerary.
“I felt it was a beautiful record. You always have high hopes when you record music, but in the end, it is always the world that  to take it and one never knows,” he said, crediting his fans for making  the record a success from the beginning.
“We opened a crowd funding campaign to make it that was very successful, so that brought the level of expectations a little higher,” he continued.
“ All I want to do is deliver a good piece of music.”

 He said he is always writing new material and has a strong start on his next CD.
“I  have a pretty good group of songs that I’m already feeling proud of,” he said.
“It really is something super special receiving an accolade like that. What a blessing. So I’m excited to go out on tour and share it with audiences,” he said  
“This tour will have a nice spirit,” he said.
“I’m pretty excited to tour. It’s going to be pretty amazing,” said Cuba, who was born in the small town of Artemisia Cuba as Alexis Puentes.
 He moved to Victoria and ended up moving to his wife’s hometown of  Smithers in Northern , B.C.
“I’m from a small town in Cuba, so it was easy to get used to,” he said adding it means he gets to spend more time with his wife and  kids rather than wasting time on the road commuting.
“You don’t have to worry about traffic or traffic jams. And if I want to go on tour, the airport is only two minutes away rather than 20,” he said.

“And they’re are great musicians here. Everybody plays an instrument. There are great musicians wherever you look, you just have to be open to their existence and look for them. Two of the  the guys playing in my band are from Smithers,” he said.

“We give Alex Cuba music  universal appeal. We think it reflects  us well,” he added, noting  band mates José Sanchez ( from Salt Spring Island) and Smithers born drummer Jake Jenne and bassist Ian Olmstead  add a variety of influences including Cuban music, funk, soul and rock and roll.
He has been playing with them for a long time.

“That’s a beautiful story too,” he said, noting when he was living in Victoria, he used to go to Smithers regularly to visit his wife’s family and met  them as teenagers at jam sessions.
“They come from very musical families. They were very young when I met them 15 and 13,” he said, adding he got them to play a big gig in Victoria at the Ski Hero Festival.
“I had to put together a band, so I hired them. They’ve been permanent band members for two and a half years,” he said adding he brought them along to back him opening for big gigs like an opening slot for Sheryl Crow in Hollywood.

They don’t play on “ Healer,” though.
“But some people say they sound better than the record,” Cuba quipped.
“There is a little bit of everything in it. There’s lots of variety,” he said, adding their music includes traditional Cuban music with elements of funk, R and B and soul music.
“And there’s a little bit of romance. you can’t be Cuban without lots of romance,” he said.

“It’s happy intense music. It’s the type of sound that has a lot of influences,” he said.
“I’m not the type of person to shout  at people to get up and dance. I like it when it happens spontaneously,” he said.
“I hope people will get up and rock and roll and move. The band is amazing. Ian is a good player. His big, fat bass is the real heart of the sound,” he said.
“We’ll be playing the album and in the second set, I have five albums to choose from,” he said.

In addition to his own music, Cuba is returning to his homeland to do a documentary on Cuban music.
“It’s called the Cuban Bus. I’m the host and director. We drive across the island  recording  and finding all of the talent we find. There’s talented musicians all over,” he said.
Alex Cuba and his band play the Geomatic Attic, Jan. 20 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $47.50

— By Richard Amery, l.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Sunday, 17 January 2016 13:52 )  
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