Singer Alex Cuba’s life without limits, and the father who inspired it (Part I)
During a recent telephone conversation with my dad, he asked me, “What style music does Alex Cuba play?” I was stumped and had a really difficult time defining the sound. I stumbled around trying to answer the question, but really had no answer. Finally, he said, “That’s ok, I’ll look him up.”
Fast forward a few weeks and I’ve learned that Alex Cuba really doesn’t want to be defined by one particular sound or genre. So, when I asked him last week during our interview, “Who is Alex Cuba?” His answer made perfect sense, “Alex Cuba is the inventor but that’s a really big word, but I want to say that Alex Cuba is a genre bending artist who is really hard to pinpoint and box.”
As a singer/songwriter from Cuba, it’s hard to imagine Alex Cuba as anything other than an Afro-Cuban jazz or salsa singer due to the island’s rich musical history. But he’s not. He actually credits his style, which is a concoction of a variety of musical genres (rock, salsa, Latin pop, samba etc), in great extent to his father, Valentin Puentes, and his diverse musical interests and desire for his son to live completely free of limitations.
Cuba says his father has classic taste in music, loved old school Trova music and Cuban standout performers like pianist Compay Segundo, Conjunto Matamoros and the incomparable Beny Moré. Contrast these Cuban musical powerhouses with Puentes’ enjoyment of singing the Beatles in Spanish, listening to Elvis Presley and a year spent teaching music in Angola and it’s easy to understand how Alex Cuba would be so inspired to move freely between musical styles, feeling very at home and comfortable being quite unconventional. Read more