Cuban-Canadian musician Adonis Puentes plays the Capital Ballroom March 29. Kristyn Anthony/VICTORIA NEWS

Victoria-based Cuban musician Adonis Puentes headlines night of salsa at Capital Ballroom

‘Musicians and people in sports are the people who get to see the planet in Cuba’

If Cuba and Canada seem like an unlikely connection, you haven’t lent your ear to the sounds of Adonis Puentes.

“It’s no secret that the music from Brazil, the music from the United States and the music from Cuba is the strongest popular music in this part of life that we are living,” says the musician. “And it’s been like that for more than a century.”

So, how does the son of a famous Cuban musician end up calling Victoria home? “It was my destiny,” he says.

In 1995, Puentes, with his twin brother Alexis (who performs today as Alex Cuba) and their father Valentin Puentes, brought their Cuban sound to Canada, touring from Victoria to Halifax.

“Musicians and people in sports are the people who get to see the planet in Cuba,” he says. He fell in love, both with a woman and with the country, particularly the Island city where he first took the Canadian stage.

The Juno award-winning artist will celebrate 20 years of fusing his Cuban heritage with his Canadian journey this Thursday night (March 29), backed by Voice of Cuba Orchestra at the Capital Ballroom.

“It’s an incredible opportunity to play in Victoria in the way I want to,” he says, referring to the “A+ band” of Cuban musicians he’s lined up for what is both a live show and salsa dancing competition that kicks off with lessons for beginners.

“It’s not every day that I have the opportunity to show up with the most powerful guns to put on a great show,” says Puentes, who will also celebrate his birthday that night.

Dicen, his new album, has been called a “modern Cuban music masterpiece,” but for Puentes, it’s just another snapshot of where he’s at artistically. Recorded in L.A., under the tutelage of producer Oscar Hernandez, it’s the first record of original music from Puentes in almost a decade.

He doesn’t refer to the collection as songs, but revelations; each a different mood, a separate state of mind. A Cuban artist making music in a relatively small city on a Canadian island might seem counterintuitive, but Puentes doesn’t see it that way.

“You can be in the biggest city in the world, but you still have to move, because you are pursuing original music,” he explains. Having worked with some of the best producers and musicians in places like L.A., Miami, and New York, it’s Island life that has given Puentes a space to be himself, to explore his voice.

“It’s the only place where I can drive for hours without using GPS,” he jokes.

His records are picking up steam in Latin American countries like Colombia and Peru – even China.

“It’s that ingredient of making you dance. The music is geared toward the dancer, so there’s no need for English.”

Cuba is one of the few places on the planet where people are still living life through music, he says. He visits often, if nothing else to immerse himself in the music he grew up with, providing the foundation for the journey he’s taken since.

“It’s beyond the songs I write, it’s beyond my voice,” Puentes says. “It’s more [about] passing the point of view and the concepts of a Cuban musician. It’s my musical house. The voice of Cuba is a musical house.”

Tickets for the March 29 show are $22, available online at bit.ly/2I2wp3e. For more on Adonis Puentes, visit him online at adonispuentes.ca.

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dance Victoria: The Trocks are in town!

Dance Days 2020 performance roster includes two powerhouse presentations

Pacific Opera Victoria exec member earns major honour

Yvette Guigueno to attend prestigious OPERA America leadership program this month in New York

Famed character actor Bill Nighy to be part of 2020 Victoria Film Festival

Nighy to chat with CTV’s Richard Crouse after Feb. 8 screening of the film Hope Gap

ALLAN REID: Like fresh food? Find it in Cook Street Village

Hawaiian-inspired Poke Fresh offers right raw food combination for Monday reviewer’s liking

Victoria’s David Ferguson earns second Chrystal Dance Prize

Dance Victoria awards Suddenly Dance Theatre co-artistic director $20,000 for new project

Fashion Fridays: Look your best this year

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Winners announced for inaugural Victoria Arts Council/Monday poetry contest

More than 100 entries received in five categories

Canadian polar bears’ ‘ingenious’ survival seen in BBC Earth series

Film crews also go to Tofino to watch black bears snap up crabs under massive boulders

Spring author’s reading series kicks off early in Sidney

Sidney and Peninsula Literary Society hosting Yasuko Thanh and Carla Funk for Feb. 7 event

The winners of London Drugs’ 2019 Amateur Photographer of the Year contest are…

After more than 26,000 entries, the winners have been selected across Western Canada.

‘How to Train Your Dragon’ filmmaker Dean DeBlois among Canadian Oscar nominees

Multiple Oscar-nominated Canadian talents on Academy Award hopefuls list

Grammy winner Lucinda Williams to play Vancouver Island MusicFest

Singer-songwriter has been on artistic director Doug Cox’s wish list for years

Sidney’s Star Cinema raises curtain on temporary location

Theatre will operate one screen in former Sidney Buy & Sell space for the next 30 months or so

Most Read