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Album reviews
Artist:
Alex Cuba
Album:
Sublime
Release year:
2020
Label:
Caracol Records
27 January 2020 / by Kejo Buchanan (author)

Genres: Latin Folk

If you need an album that nourishes, delights and reflects like a good story you just enjoyed then, Alex Cuba’s recent creation will leave you feeling Sublime.  The motivation for this album is set to be “capturing that magic, while it’s still hot,” Cuba said in a press release, “in that moment of higher truth”. Indeed, this collection of stories - delivered in folk and acoustic rock style with Afro-latin influences weaving it all together - is received as beautiful and honest.

As an Anglophone listener, the Spanish lyrics are complementary with the unplugged rhythm, simplicity of choruses as well as collaborations between Cuba and both new and established performers. One prime example of this combination is  "Dividido" a rhythmic conversation with Silvana Estrada, a young on-the-rise Mexican composer. The album is balanced with solos and excellent pairings such as "Hoy Como Ayer" with Pablo Milanés and his captivating vibrato.  Milanés is one of the founders of the Cuban nueva trova style, a style combining politically progressive lyrics with traditional folk sound. This consortium speaks to the quality of work one anticipates to hear and also the variety to sustain interest in the melodic conversation.

Sublime’s multi-generational celebrity line up is exciting but, vaguely surprising since, Alex Cuba (né Alexis Puentes) is a Latin Grammy and Juno award-winning Cuban-Canadian artist.  The variety of tempo and melody on this album is often a collaborative with guests and built on the foundation of Alex Cuba playing every instrumental accompaniment. So, consider this critique an invitation to listen and decipher if the work is truly sublime.

Rating: 9/10

The author

Kejo Buchanan

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