Alex started playing the drums at the age of 4 and by 16 he was a studio musician in his native country of Peru. Alex first came to the US at the age of 18 with Latin bandleader, Perez Prado, and his mark on music began there. Alex played drums and percussion for the world-renowned group Weather Report. Alex also had the opportunity to work with other great musicians in the studio and on the road, such as Ella Fitzgerald, Elvis Presley, Al Jarreau, the Yellow Jackets, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Paul McCartney, Ron Kenoly, Celia Cruz and movie composers, Dave Grusin and John Williams. These are but a few of the names from a very long list.
Alex is also widely known as a gifted teacher and clinician. This, combined with his South American and Caribbean roots, and understanding of contemporary music make him one of the most skilled and complete musicians in the world.
"Alex Acuna y Su Acuarela De Tambores" received a 2000 Grammy Award nomination for Best Tropical Latin Album for "Rhythms for a New Millennium". This solo album, produced by Alex, included varying styles of Latin, South American and African percussion. The nomination confirmed Alex's vast knowledge and expertise of percussion rhythms. Zan Stewart of the Los Angeles Times wrote "Alex Acuna is the epitome of the world music percussionist, to whom no style is a stranger".
Alex has also composed music for various artists and produced "Thinking of You" by Alex Acuna and the Unknowns, "Rumberos Poetry" by Tolu and "Aliyah" by Kay Silbering. This year will see the release of Tolu's "Bongo de Van Gogh", the Unknowns follow-up album and several projects for NIDO Entertainment, Alex's new record company.
"For years, I wanted a cymbal I could play with my hand, so I went to the Zildjian factory and a new sound was born: Azuka. My concept was to create cymbals that were distinctively different, yet complementary to the cymbals played by the drumset player. We designed not only a cymbal for the hand, but a new crash for Latin music and also the perfect all-around cymbal for Timbale playing."