Makrú, DJ Agana
Thursday, Apr 13, 2017 9:00 PM (8:00 PM Doors)
The New Parish, Oakland, CA. 18 years and over.
‘a Cuban singer/songwriter from Canada. Alex Cuba shows himself to be a man who readily defies expectations… He’s like Marvin Gaye singing soul for a new generation – a [bilingual] audience hungry for something more organic and tangible than your typical Latin-pop star… his melodies are irresistible in any language’
iTunes – Spotify.
Alex Cuba is proud to present, Lo Único Constante, twelve songs reflecting a lifetime of musical development. The album official released on April 7th and is available now on pre-order.
Chief among the influences on this album is filin (derived from the English word “feeling”), a movement that emerged in the 1940s, popularized by acts such as César Portillo de la Luz, Jose Antonio Mendez, and Omara Portuondo (to name a few), which draws inspiration from guitar-based Cuban roots styles such as trova and American jazz and soul. Its mellifluous melodies, stirring harmonies, and meticulous song-craft are showcased throughout Lo Único Constante, notably on the first single, “Todas Las Cabezas Están Locas,”
Recorded in Montreal with producer Jean Massicotte, the song opens with Alex crooning in heartfelt tones over gentle acoustic guitar, before Les Triplettes de Belleville soundtrack composer Benoit Charest jumps in with some gentle gypsy jazz licks. Brazilian-born vocalist Bia offers some sultry back-up singing leading up to rhythmic chorus, accentuated by layered vocals and joyful hand claps.
Alex shows off his roots in a whole different way on “Chekere,” a song about the spiritual properties of shakers. Its tribal-like rhythms come courtesy of the Abakuá drums, a percussion instrument that pre-dates the conga and belongs to a Cuban secret society.
And “Piedad de Mi” sees Alex riffing on tradition in yet another unique manner. Having imagined the song with a traditional Cuban horn section, he recorded some vocalizations to sketch out the brass arrangement. He then realized the vocalizations sounded far more interesting and original than horns, so the piece was reborn as a quasi a cappella track.
Alex’s risk-taking on Lo Único Constante also extends to the recording process. In addition to traveling to Montreal to work with Massicotte, he produced Emilio Del Monte Jr.’s percussion parts for the album remotely via Facetime, while Del Monte laid them down in Maimi. And he journeyed to Madrid’s Musigrama to record the flamenco flavoured “Lágrimas Del Que Llora” with Josemi Carmona, heir to the flamenco dynasty, the Carmonas of Jerez. A former member of the groundbreaking flamenco fusion group Ketama, which raised the ire of purists when they debuted in the 80s, Carmona is now widely considered one of the greatest flamenco/jazz guitarists working today.
Long-time collaborator Joby Baker co-produced the rest of Lo Único Constante at Victoria’s Baker Studios and succeeded, along with Alex, in incorporating the remote sessions into a beautiful, cohesive package.
The theme of the album is change, as the one constant in life, and it’s a fitting motif for an artist that’s been on a non-stop creative evolution ever since launching his solo debut in 2004 – and who has revolutionized Cuban music with each new step in his artistic process.
Alex Cuba is a Latin Grammy/Juno winner, singer-songwriter who is not tied to tradition;
Alex has a vast musical vision. His sugarcane-sweet melodies, pop-soul hooks and powerful guitar riffs, relinquish a conventional stereotype that exemplifies much of the Latin music landscape. Collaborating with artists such as: Nelly Furtado, Juan Luis Guerra, Juanes and Ron Sexsmith, just to name a few.
Born Alexis Puentes in Artemisa, Cuba, was immersed in music at a very young age. Being in the family business since the early age of 4. This is when he joined his father (respected guitarist and teacher Valentin Puentes), and a group of 24 guitarists in a performance aired on Cuban national TV. Alex then went on to study guitar and bass and touring nationally and internationally.
In 1999, Alex moved to Vancouver, B.C where he recorded an album titled “Morumba Cubana” alongside his twin brother Adonis, as The Puentes Brothers. Alex then went on to record his solo debut album “Humo De Tobaco” in which earned him a Juno award for World Music Album of the Year in 2006. In 2007, Alex released “Agua Del Pozo” which also earned him another Juno award for World Music Album of the Year in 2008. From there, Alex released his third album, a self-titled project “Alex Cuba” in 2009.
The album features his first ever English track titled “If You Give Me Love”. The album gained recognition on an international level. In 2010, Alex took home the award for Best New Artist at the 2010 Latin Grammy Awards, where it was also nominated for Best Male Pop Vocal Album. It also followed a nominated for Best Latin Pop Album at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards and in 2011 Alex took home a BMI Latin Award for his songwriting on Nelly Furtado’s #1 Spanish hit “Manos Al Aire”.
In 2012, Alex released his fourth album “Ruido En El Sistema”, which Alex received his second Socan Hagood Hardy Award for outstanding achievement in Jazz and World Music. He also won his second Latin Grammy Award – this time as a songwriter. Alex alongside his co-writer Yoel Henriquez received the award for Best Tropical Song for the single “Toma Mi Vida” from Milly Quezada’s album Aqui Estoy Yo. In 2013, he again brought home a Latin Grammy for the video Eres Tu from Ruido En El Sistema, a video produced entirely in his hometown of Smithers.
Songwriting was the focus for the latest album “Healer” that was recorded in New York, USA and Victoria, Canada. Using a live rhythm section the songs take on a live appeal and Alex traded in horns for guitars and vocal harmonies that take Alex back to his roots. There are five duets with singer- songwriters, five being Canadian, Ron Sexsmith, David Myles, Alejandra Ribera and Kuba Oms as well as New Yorker Anya Marina. It is an upbeat, acoustic soul album full of optimism and reality as Alex always has a silver lining on melancholy of any form. The album won a Latin Grammy for best Singer-songwriter and nominated for a Grammy as best Latin Pop in 2016.
Still based in Smithers, Alex Cuba has put together a four piece band of Ian Olmstead on Bass, Jake Jenne on Drums and Jose Sanchez on percussion. Ian and Jake, both from Smithers have known Alex since their high school years and Cuban expat Jose has toured previously supporting the album Agua del Pozo. Coming together for this latest project highlight the songs with lots of melody, groove and vocal harmonies.
Landing in San Francisco from different parts of the world, Makrú fuses Rumba Flamenca, Reggae, Cumbia, Ska, and other global beats to create a unifying, positive vibe in the Bay Area through its music. Lyrics in Spanish and English bring reality, fiction, hope and joy together, in hopes of spreading a message of respect and love.