CBC: David Myles does a Latin turn on the new Alex Cuba album

April 2, 2015
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David Myles has always had a passion for Latin music. His album Into The Sun from 2011 dabbled in the rhythms, and his interest probably goes back to his school days playing the trumpet. He’ll grab that horn any time he’s asked.

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This time though, he was asked to lend his pipes and pen to a Latin track. Myles is the Canadian duet king after all, ever since he teamed up with Classified for the hip-hop hit Inner Ninja. That went pretty well. Not only was it a Juno-winning hit, it was the biggest-selling hip-hop track in Canadian music history. So if you want to cross-pollinate a couple of genres, who ya gonna call?

Alex Cuba is no stranger to duets either. It’s been one of his best moves, matching up with notable Canadian singers and writers. It’s part of what he does best, mixing the Cuban sounds he learned in his youth (living in Cuba until he was 25) with the pop he incorporates here in Canada (where he’s lived since 1999). His new album, Healer, finds him going the furthest down that path yet. The rhythms, moods and much of the instrumentation comes from a warmer climate, and some of the romance I suppose, but he molds that into modern pop and R’n’B, as smooth as silk.

The duets work well as Cuba truly blends with the guest. Here, Ron Sexsmith contributes his voice and his songwriting, coming up with the lyrics to Half A Chance, a breezy number that sees Cuba handle the Spanish verses, followed by Sexsmith in English, a solid pop number with touches of Cuban percussion and lots of vocal weaving. But the real killer comes from the collaboration with Myles, called In 1 2 3 4. It’s a big, exuberant number with a soaring chorus about the night being young. They count off the beat in the lyrics with a big 1-2-3-4, and it’s a pure celebration number. This could easily become a dance hit for them, and certainly is the latest feel good epic track from the East Coast’s happiest guy.

By the way, Myles has some special concerts in New Brunswick soon. He’s playing a series of shows with Symphony New Brunswick. Myles and the tuxedo’d ones will be at the Capitol Theatre in Moncton on Monday, April 13, then at the Playhouse in Fredericton on Tuesday April 12, and in Saint John at the Imperial on Wednesday, April 15.

by Bob Mersereau, CBC