Canada-based Cuban Alex Cuba has been building a strong following in the Latin alternative and indie crowd with his mix of funk, soul and Cuban beats. The fact that he is a gifted performer with great charisma doesn’t hurt, either. Early on, he participated in showcases like the Latin Alternative Music Conference in New York armed with nothing but an acoustic guitar, and he was able to engage audiences and get them to sing along with him almost immediately—even if that was the first time anyone in the room had heard the song.
On his third release, “Ruido En El Sistema” (Caracol Records), Cuba incorporates more Latin-inflected songs, departing a bit from the soul/rock edge of previous recordings. “Sin Un Porque” is mostly based around percussion and horns, and while “Eres” is very electric, there’s a strong rumba influence in the backbeat. “Nadie Como” is a surefire hit thanks to its retro feel and the participation of frequent collaborator Nelly Furtado.
On a live format he tends to interact with the audience well, extend songs with smart guitar licks on his ES 335 Gibson guitar and get everyone to their feet in no time. Make sure you get to know this guy’s work before he stops playing in more intimate rooms. (Ernest Barteldes)
October 9 at City Winery, 1200 West Randolph, (312)733-WINE, 8pm. $15-$20.