Alex Cuba – Agua del Pozo


 “You’ll fall in love with Cuba’s untamed voice. Even if you don’t understand a lick of what he’s saying, you’ll feel him.” – New York Post

Alex Cuba Live Listen While You Read:

I love all things Latin.  Call it what it is: “chromosomal determination.”  Alex Cuba’s new release: Agua Del Pozo (English: Water From the Well), starts out slow and quiet but quickly picks up speed.  My favorite tracks are the title track and “Pide Un Deseo.”  The tempo again slows  starting with Fiesta Religion and continues through Euforia.  The only truly weak song to these ears is Fiesta Religion, as the beats and rhythms  seem derivative of  Mariachi music of days gone by.

Alex’s music falls in the Cubano tradition with all the bullfighting, island rhythms, and celebration that is bedrock, even if the “inner matador” is buried deep in its substrata.   He’s an accomplished performer and along with all his musical  ” joie de vivre,” there is a streak of sadness that soaks through his songs like an aged whiskey saturates an already excellent Christmas cake. Consider the song “Lamento” for an obvious example.   It may just take a match, or a sizzling guitar riff,  to ignite, but this takes one to a better place. A place we all recognize in our own lives. 

 

 Cuba’s Canadian evolution transformed him, a kid from a small town near Havana, into a fearless independent musician stringing his beloved Gibson guitars with the heaviest, bassiest steel strings (which he plays without a pick). “When I went to Canada, I found this place very open, a new country, in many ways,” Cuba reflects. “Canadians will embrace any form of art, as long as it’s natural or honest. So I found a lot of space here to be myself.”

Interview with Alex Cuba AlexCuba Interview Final

Alex Cuba Live Performance at Rumba Room Chicago 10-07-09  AlexCubaLiveMastered

Leaping over boundaries has become second nature for Cuba, who revels in critical comparisons to soul stars like Marvin Gaye, indie darlings like John Mayer, and Latin cross-cultural masters like Carlos Santana. This hit home several years ago during one particularly challenging concert in New York, when he was faced with a crowd angry that he spoke in English, not Spanish between songs. Cuba quit the stage in disgust, had a falling out with his first label, and gained a sudden stroke of insight: He had to do his own thing, no matter what.

“It was a very important moment,” Cuba recalls. “It told me what I should do with my music. I need to go to the trouble of finding the people who get my point.” Though he released Agua del Pozo digitally last year to coincide with critically acclaimed tours, and he toyed with offers from major labels, for the physical release, he waited until the stars aligned to match his independent spirit.  

“Harmony is all of us together,” concludes Cuba. “That’s what I want my music to do no matter what. If I have to go on my own to reach that; I do it on my own. I team up with people who really get it. I sing to people who feel what I am doing.”

~ by castleqwayr on October 26, 2009.

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