It’s all music

Alex Cuba reluctantly crosses the language barrier

Sideburns that could kill a man: Alex Cuba grew up on a steady diet of jazz and American pop.

Alex Cuba, equipped with an afro, some mad sideburns and a love for creating music, will be making his way to town this week.

A favourite of this year’s Folk Fest, Cuba is a dynamic performer who spends a great deal of time on the road.

He spends four out of every five weeks travelling around playing his tunes, and has been doing so for years.

Currently he’s making his way east, stopping in Winnipeg on Nov. 19.

“It’s good to meet and play as much as you can, for me and the audience, which is why I think it’s important to stay on the road,” Cuba said over the phone.

Growing up on a steady diet of jazz and American pop, the Cuban-born singer always admired Michael Jackson.

In his youth Cuba even learned many of Jackson’s iconic dance moves.

Outwardly, a lot has changed for the 35-year-old pop-singer since coming to Canada in 1999.

He’s learned English, picked up the guitar and recorded a handful of albums.

But the importance of music has remained the same.

“The music speaks for itself. I have nothing to hide, everything goes in my music and I just hope that people get the way it is,” said Cuba.

Alex Cuba recently helped co-write Nelly Furtado’s first Spanish-only album Mi Plan.

“Writing is like you never know what’s going to happen. You could totally nail the right chemistry… or nothing happens,” said Cuba.

Until now Cuba has steered away from English songs for one simple reason: he didn’t feel comfortable writing poetry in a language he didn’t have a strong grasp of.

That has all changed with his latest offering, Alex Cuba, though admittedly only one track is in English.

The fact that the BC-based singer-songwriter has broken the language barrier musically now suggests that there will likely be more to come.

However, Cuba does not approach songwriting with such a plan in mind.

The fact that he can now write poetry in English while crafting a song which he is happy with is just another expansion of his musical audience.

“It’s all music. It depends if you want to do it or not, and if you do, then it’s the same thing.”

Published in Volume 64, Number 11 of The Uniter (November 12, 2009)

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