Alex Cuba: Music to quiet the noise in the system

“I would like to think that this record is the most daring to date, and the one that speaks the most about who I am,” says Alex Cuba. Via phone, The acclaimed Cuban singer/songwriter, now based in Canada (several Canadian Juno Awards, Latin Grammy award, Grammy nominee) is describing key aspects of his most recent and fourth album, “Ruido en el sistema.”

Known for his intimate, rhythmic and often romantic ballads, Cuba says that for the first time he was inspired to write songs about global and political human themes: “There is a strange truth, a strange reality in the way that I write my songs. When it comes to my music, I let creativity come to me. I don’t try to force the music or the creativity, because I believe that creativity is divine. It was the time to do it and to speak of what is happening around me.”

Additionally, he believes living in Canada has helped him grow as an artist in a vitally different way: “The development of my own style has been interesting, and maybe in some ways slow. The way I see music and express it is a bit different from what is happening in Latin America, because I live in Canada. The creativity that emerges in this country has allowed me to overcome the language barrier.” One lesson he has learned, he says is to cover a lot of territory in terms of musical genres, to keep listeners (especially those that don’t speak Spanish) entertained and surprised and interested.”

However, he always keeps his homeland present in all of his work in more ways that language and rhythms. This CD, as well as his others, was partly taped in the famed Egrem Studios in Havana. Alex Cuba says the purpose of recording there is to add a particular texture which comes in particular, from the horns and the percussion, as well as the space of the studios themselves, as he puts it, “adding glimmers of where I came from.”

But the most important thing about this latest CD, titled “Ruido en el Sistema,” is its messages, he affirms passionately: “It’s about the moment that we find ourselves in as humans, we don’t seem to have a focus – that’s why I called it noise in the system. We need to become aware how our lives are being threatened by this absurd noise we have created all on our own, by our insecurity and not knowing where we are going. It is more important than ever to know who we are, what we want and where we are going. I hope this record helps people find themselves spiritually, find their center to help dampen that noise in the system that we are exposed to every day.”

Alex Cuba will perform at the City Winery on October 9, 2012

Check Catalina’s radio show Beat Latino  (On FB and itunes too!) as well as recent NPR features to explore the past, present and future of Latin music.

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