It takes a village to raise a Grammy Award winner

Alex Cuba performs with Ian Olmstead during the Grammy Block Party held in his honour at Bovill Square Sept. 17. (Thom Barker photo)Alex Cuba performs with Ian Olmstead during the Grammy Block Party held in his honour at Bovill Square Sept. 17. (Thom Barker photo)
Alex Cuba plays with the Ewk Hiyah Hozdli drummers to kick off the entertainment at the Alex Cuba Grammy Block Party Sept. 17. (Marisca Bakker photo)Alex Cuba plays with the Ewk Hiyah Hozdli drummers to kick off the entertainment at the Alex Cuba Grammy Block Party Sept. 17. (Marisca Bakker photo)
The Ewk Hiyah Hozdli drumming group gifts Alex Cuba a drum and invites him to play with them at the beginning of the Grammy Block Party held in his honour Sept. 17. (Marisca Bakker photo)The Ewk Hiyah Hozdli drumming group gifts Alex Cuba a drum and invites him to play with them at the beginning of the Grammy Block Party held in his honour Sept. 17. (Marisca Bakker photo)
Alex Cuba plays with the drummers. (Marisca Bakker photo)Alex Cuba plays with the drummers. (Marisca Bakker photo)
Alex Cuba plays with the Ewk Hiyah Hozdli drummers to kick off the entertainment at the Alex Cuba Grammy Block Party Sept. 17. (Marisca Bakker photo). (Marisca Bakker photo)
Alex Cuba plays with the Ewk Hiyah Hozdli drummers to kick off the entertainment at the Alex Cuba Grammy Block Party Sept. 17. (Marisca Bakker photo). (Marisca Bakker photo)Alex Cuba plays with the Ewk Hiyah Hozdli drummers to kick off the entertainment at the Alex Cuba Grammy Block Party Sept. 17. (Marisca Bakker photo). (Marisca Bakker photo) Alex Cuba plays with the Ewk Hiyah Hozdli drummers to kick off the entertainment at the Alex Cuba Grammy Block Party Sept. 17. (Marisca Bakker photo). (Marisca Bakker photo)
MC of the Alex Cuba Grammy block party and MLA for Stikine Nathan Cullen tells a story of his first time hearing Alex Cuba play as the party kicks off Sept. 17. (Marisca Bakker photo)MC of the Alex Cuba Grammy block party and MLA for Stikine Nathan Cullen tells a story of his first time hearing Alex Cuba play as the party kicks off Sept. 17. (Marisca Bakker photo)
Elijah Quinn performs at the Alex Cuba Grammy Block Party Sept. 17. (Marisca Bakker photo)Elijah Quinn performs at the Alex Cuba Grammy Block Party Sept. 17. (Marisca Bakker photo)
An estimated 1,000 people joined in for the Alex Cuba Grammy Block Party throughout the afternoon of Sept. 17. (Marisca Bakker photo)An estimated 1,000 people joined in for the Alex Cuba Grammy Block Party throughout the afternoon of Sept. 17. (Marisca Bakker photo)

About 1,000 people took part in a block party on Saturday to honour Smithers’ own Grammy Award winner Alex Cuba.

The event at Bovill Square featured bands from around the region, the Ewk Hiyah Hozdli Witsuwit’en drummers, speakers, food vendors and a beer garden.

Entertainment included Mark Perry, Rachelle Van Zanten, Earthchild and Elijah Quinn.

Cuba himself was not on the bill, but performed a surprise set at the very end of the concert to the delight of the gathered crowd.

Cuba’s Grammy for “Best Latin Pop Album” is distinct in honouring him not only for his work as a musician but for the full gamut of “Artist/Producer/Engineer” for his most recent album, Mendó which he recorded in his living room in Smithers, BC – a first for him – during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m so grateful that the town of Smithers, the wonderful people have come up with something like this, for me. The music is not only for me, but for the arts. That is what I saw in Smithers from the day I got here. This is a community that embraces the arts. I felt very comfortable, right from the beginning,” Cuba told the crowd on Saturday. “Those mountains keep giving me songs, I don’t know how it happens. I get very creative here.”

“To answer the million questions I get over my career, about when I’m going to move or why I live in Smithers…. I’m not done yet in Smithers, Smithers keeps making me write songs.”

The event was organized by Tourism Smithers, the Smithers District Chamber of Commerce, and the Town of Smithers.

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