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Alex Cuba: Tiny Desk Concert

This Latinx Heritage Month Tiny Desk is celebrating with an 'El Tiny' takeover, featuring a wide array of artists from all corners of Latinidad.

Alex Cuba starts his turn behind the Tiny Desk with the barest of musical essentials: a percussive guitar rhythm, the soft scratch of a güiro and a miniature choir. "Ciudad Hembra (La Habana)," a lament for his hometown, sets a deliberate slow burn for this performance.

Alex Cuba's superpower is his undeniable charm as he weaves evocative imagery into musical arrangements that not only call to mind his native Cuba but anywhere an acoustic guitar and engaging voice command attention. "De Camino'' offers a good case in point. Propelled by bass, drums and congas, the deeply personal love song is full of celebration — Cuba's guitar and light hand percussion remind us that we are, in fact, in the Caribbean.

"Chekere" is named for the Afro-Cuban instrument made of a dried-out gourd covered by beads used in all types of Cuban music. The song's soft beginning evolves into a percussion-inspired explosion before Alex Cuba segues into a delicate love song dedicated to his wife, "Sarah."


  • "Ciudad Hembra (La Habana)"
  • "De Camino"
  • "Chekere"
  • "Sarah"


  • Alex Cuba: guitars, vocals
  • Yoser Rodríguez: bass
  • Alain Bergé: drums
  • Javier García: vocals, minor percussion
  • Roberto Viszaino Jr.: percussion


  • Producers: Anamaria Sayre, Felix Contreras, Suraya Mohamed 
  • Director/Editor: Kara Frame
  • Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin
  • Creative Director: Bob Boilen 
  • Series Producer: Bobby Carter
  • Videographers: Kara Frame, Joshua Bryant, Alanté Serene
  • Audio Assistant: Ted Mebane
  • Photographer: Catie Dull
  • Tiny Desk Team: Maia Stern, Ashley Pointer, Hazel Cills 
  • VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins
  • Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Felix Contreras is co-creator and host of Alt.Latino, NPR's pioneering radio show and podcast celebrating Latin music and culture since 2010.