Hugo Alexander Cruz Machado is a Cuban-born, award winning, internationally renowned drummer and composer who has performed in South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Mexico, Chile, Venezuela, and the United States. Hugo is the leader of the group Caminos, who have made appearances at the Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival 2019, Fábrica de Artes in Havana, Cuba, Highmark First Night Pittsburgh 2020, City of Asylum, The Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust events, The Frick Museum, and Con Alma, among others.
Caminos fuse rhythms and melodies of Afro-Cuban, Cuban, and American music, in an original contemporary expression that honors traditional Cuban form. In February 2022, Hugo released Caminos' first album, Punto de Partida, featuring eight of Hugo's compositions and celebrated musicians from Cuba and Pittsburgh.
While a resident of Cuba, Hugo toured regularly with Síntesis, a leading Afrocuban rock-fusion group. Hugo has performed in Havana’s largest jazz festival, Jazz Plaza, with acclaimed artists Dave Weckl and Victor Goines. He is a graduate of the Instituto Superior de Artes, the leading arts university of Cuba, and in 2014, won the award as the “best drummer” at the international Festival del Tambor Guillermo Barreto in Memoriam in Havana, Cuba.
Hugo has shared the stage and studio with many of Cuba’s leading musicians, such as La Trovuntivitis, Tony Guzmán y Su Poder Latino, Síntesis, Janio Abreu y Aire de Concierto, Adrian Berazain, Interactivo, Zule Guerra, and Mayco de Alma. Hugo performs and records with notable Pittsburgh artists, including Afro Yaqui Music Collective, Dr. James Johnson, Ernest McCarty Jr., Tubby Daniels, Dwayne Dolphin, Mark Strickland, Max Leake, and Poogie Bell. Hugo is a drum teacher at the Afro-American Music Institute and has led workshops as a special guest at the University of Pittsburgh and several youth and cultural organizations throughout the city.