Now based in British Columbia, of all places, the singer-songwriter Alex Cuba is surely a long way from the homeland reflected in his stage name. Born in the town of Artemisa some 35 years ago, he grew up on the island with a guitar player father, Valentin Puentes, and took up guitar himself as a child. But his ticket out of Cuba didn't come until the late '90s, when he married a Canadian and eventually emigrated to her hometown.
Still, the frigid north hasn't taken the sunshine out of Cuba's amorphous sound. In his teens and twenties, he specialized in playing jazz fusion, and while his new material is more melodic and structured, it still displays some of that style's percolating experimentation. And while he sings entirely in Spanish, the rhythms of his native country fade in and out seemingly at random. His is sort of a refined world pop, the kind of thing that could win over fans of surf-y troubadours like Jack Johnson, even.
This Thursday is a particularly good time to get acquainted with Cuba. His last appearance in Miami Beach was at the Fundarte-sponsored Global Cuba Music fest earlier this year. Ticket prices to that were, frankly, a little steep for the average curious concertgoer, considering each $20 ticket got you just one performer. This time around, Fundarte has wised up and made this Lincoln Road show completely free.
Alex Cuba. With Russian Red. Thursday, October 15. The Colony Theater, 1040 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach. Show starts at 8 p.m., admission is free. 305-316-6165; fundarte.us