Multiple LATIN GRAMMY Winner ALEX CUBA Releases His New Album Mendó The Substance Of The Soul, Today Also Sees Alex Cuba Share New Focus Single I Think Of You, His First English Language Album Track In Five Years Also Features Joaquín Betancour’s Powerful Joven Jazz Band From Alex’s Native Cuba, While The Video Takes Fans On A Ride Through His Beautiful Adopted Home of Northern Canada.
Award winning Latin singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Alex Cuba, has just released release his new album, Mendó – and this time out, the decorated Cuban Canadian independent musician, goes bigger than he ever has before, reaching across the world to collaborate with some of Latin music’s most talented stars, ironically, while recording remotely at home.
When I began to imagine this album, I knew I didn’t want it to be small in any way. Neither did I want it to be known forever as the album that was born out of the pandemic. I was convinced that it definitely was the moment to aim at creating something very special, unique and vibrant, fueled by the very deep emotions that this time has brought out of all of us.
Written and recorded from his home in Smithers, BC, Cuba was dedicated to virtually reaching as far and wide as possible, and reach he did. From Northern British Columbia to Spain, Peru, Puerto Rico, and beyond, Cuba’s unlimited musical imagination saw him create vibrant, full-bodied songs in a wide variety of musical stylings. From flamenco to tropical, cumbia to jazz, the assortment of genres on Mendó showcase an artist with impressive musical versatility. It will come as no surprise that Cuba is credited with playing all of the instruments on the album – something he does often.
Preceded by two singles released in the Latin American market, Alex Cuba’s first Canadian single off of the project, Hablando x Hablar questions what society thinks to be true. In collaboration with an artist considered the Cubano James Brown, Cimafunk, the funk-filled song unbelievably only uses one physical instrument – an upright bass, supported by handclaps and vocals. The song creates an illusion that the listener is listening to a song that belongs to every era of American music, says Cuba.
From the healing voice of Grammy Award winning Lila Downs on Mundo Nuevo. to his colorful collaboration with world-renowned flamenco artist and Eurovision winner, Antonio Carmona, and commissioning a 13-piece horn band from his native country of Cuba, Alex’s vibrant eighth studio album is filled with international collaborations. The artwork for the album marks another international project, created by an artist in Trinidad and Tobago, who caught Cuba’s eye when he noticed her work on the cover of a book and was drawn to her unique interpretation of the African diaspora.
The album features lead track, I Think of You – a love song written in English that begins with Cuba’s signature bass and grows into a brilliantly vibrant, commanding, and adventurous song. The tune features Joaquín Betancour’s Powerful Joven Jazz Band from Alex’s native Cuba and marks his first English release on an album in over five years.
Meaning substance of the soul, Mendó is filled with beautiful, inspired, imaginative musical works – full and energetic – from the soul of a musician so immensely creative that when the world is locked down, he can find within himself the sounds of the world. Using his art as his refusal to be trapped by the circumstances surrounding him, Alex shares with listeners his Mendó, the substance of his soul, on his most powerful project to date.
A while back I had to ask myself ‘Is it me or do I actually like everything Alex Cuba releases?’ So far, the answer is: Very much! …The four-time Latin Grammy winner’s brilliant discography has evolved from Afro-Cuban music to world music, rock en español, salsa, alternative Latin and Latin crossover blends of pop, soul and jazz. And it just gets better… Irresistible, superbly minimalistic yet profoundly full …a sensory upload of sublime playing, creative arrangements and melodic delight. – NPR
Bringing his distinctive folk, funk and rock hybrid to life, the four-time Latin Grammy winner presents his new album Mendó, a testament to the respect other artists have for Alex. On this set, Cuba collaborates with renowned artists including: Antonio Carmona, Cimafunk, Lila Downs, Gian Marco, Raul Midón and Gilberto Santa Rosa. – Billboard
Fresh off his most recent Latin Grammy nominations (seven along with four wins), and notable performance on the November 2020 broadcast… and in advance of his upcoming eighth studio album… Alex Cuba, is releasing new single ‘Hablando x Hablar’ with Cuban breakout star, Cimafunk. ‘Hablando x Hablar’ is a fun and funky upbeat track that questions what we think we know to be true in society… a brave musical concept using only one physical instrument (an upright bass), handclaps, and vocals, ‘Hablando x Hablar is a bold, full bodied song, completely universal in nature, that feels like a giant production without getting bombastic… high energy performer Cimafunk has been rated by Billboard as a ‘top 10 Latin artist to watch’ with his Afro-Cuban funk-soul music style…. [While] Alex carries his Cuba within, incorporating subtle jazz influences, and tasteful, sophisticated chords and lyrics expressing his poetry in an undeniably Cuban way. His growing body of work defines a unique musical place in the Latin diaspora. – Cashbox Canada
ABOUT ALEX CUBA
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. Born Alexis Puentes in Artemisa, Cuba, was immersed in music at a very young age, joining his father’s (respected guitarist and teacher Valentin Puentes) group of 24 guitarists. Alex then went on to study electric and upright bass and touring and recording nationally and internationally. Relocating to Canada in 1999, Alex went on to record his solo debut album Humo De Tobaco (produced by Martin Terefe), which earned him a Juno award for World Music Album of the Year in 2006, with tours in Canada, Japan and the US.
In 2007, Alex released Agua Del Pozo earning 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, playing shows in the US, Canada and Spain. And 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, alongside co-writer Yoel Henriquez received the award for Best Tropical Song for the Milly Quezada’s single, Toma Mi Vida. In 2013, he brought home a Latin Grammy for the video Eres Tu from Ruido En El Sistema, a video produced entirely in his hometown of Smithers.
Alex Cuba’s 5th studio album, Healer, was recorded using a live rhythm section, trading in horns for guitars and vocal harmonies. With five duets with singer songwriters, four being Canadian, Ron Sexsmith, David Myles, Alejandra Ribera and Kuba Oms as well as New Yorker Anya Marina. The album won a Latin Grammy for best Singer-songwriter and was nominated for a Grammy as best Latin Pop in 2016. In 2017, his 6th album Lo Unico Constante was released, Looking at the filin movement in Cuba of the forties that fused jazz and trova together with emotional lyrical content. Nominated for both a Latin Grammy in the singer songwriter category and Grammy for Best Latin Pop Album Alex continues his independent journey in music.
His most recent album, Sublime, incorporated the feel of Lo Unico Constante with 6 duets alongside Latin American Singer-songwriters celebrating a contemporary or Neo folk expression of the Canción Latinamericana. The release continued Alex’s recognition from his musical peers garnering his third consecutive Latin Grammy Nomination for Best Singer-Songwriter Album, and another performance slot on the global telecast.
Follow Alex Cuba via his Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and official website.