Alex Cuba’s earliest memories are of music with the Latin beat forming the soundtrack of his life.
“Music was there every day, every minute and I was very happy with music being around me all the time,” he said.
Mr. Cuba’s father, Valentin Puentes, was a musician and teacher. When little Mr. Cuba was four, he played a Cuban percussion instrument in a TV performance with a group of his father’s guitar students.
“I remember playing it. I remember people looking at me. I remember feeling nervous because I was in front of a camera. I remember people saying ‘oh, look how cute he is,’” Mr. Cuba said. “I was having fun. I liked what I was doing.”
He enjoyed performing so much that he could hardly wait for his little hands to grow large enough so he could play the guitar too.
“Around six my hands were big enough,” he said with a laugh.
Mr. Cuba and his hands kept growing and so did his talent. In 1995 he travelled across Canada performing with his father’s band.
Everything changed in Vancouver when he met one of the volunteers who was helping with the show. The couple stayed in touch as he continued with the tour, and they were married in less than a year.
Mr. Cuba moved to Canada to be with his wife and now lives in Smithers, B.C. The couple has three children, aged 21, 15 and 11.
“My mission in Canada has been to introduce a lot of people to Latin music,” he said. “It’s been quite the mission because a lot of people go through their lives and they never even get to hear what Latin music sounds like.”
Lately he’s gained an unlikely ally in his crusade. Thanks to Justin Bieber, he said: “You can go to Tim Hortons and listen to Despacito, that song that changed the world, so people are not so innocent anymore about Latin music.”
Mr. Cuba said his music is about love, but not romance.
“You could write a love song to your dog. You could write a love song to your house or to your you-name-it. I like writing about common love, the love for each one, the love for the world,” he said. “Love, consciousness, being awake, being happy with your life, that’s what I write about.”
While Mr. Cuba travels eight months of the year and performs around 150 shows annually, he’s eager to perform at the Invermere MusicFest the weekend of August 18th.
“I’m looking forward to playing (in Invermere). I’m always looking forward to playing and to express the love of what I do,” he said.
Tickets are available at www.invermeremusicfest.com.