Featuring two guitars, bass, violin, and an extensive range of percussion instruments, Cuba's Arte Mixto mixes traditional up-tempo Cuban music with elements of classical music, jazz, flamenco, salsa, and samba. Led by violinist Alexis Correa, the band formed in the early '90s in the city of Cienfuegos Las Villas, featuring a group of students who had just graduated from the National School of Arts. Shortly after they formed, Arte Mixto was handpicked to represent Cuba as "the most authentic expression of Cuban music," in a tour of nine cities and various festivals in Norway, as well as a pair of concerts in London.
By 1996, Arte Mixto was awarded the "first level" by the evaluation committee of the Cuban Institute of Music, which is one of the most sought after and respected awards to be bestowed upon musicians in Cuba. More awards soon followed (such as the Bis Music Award, the Beny More Musical Award, the Egrem Music House Award, and a second place Lucas Award -- the Cuban equivalent to the MTV Awards). 1997 saw the release of their first recording, Deseos, and a year later, their sophomore release, Virginia de Cuba, was issued (the latter was made in tribute to Alex Correas' mother). During the late '90s, Arte Mixto toured the United States twice, and had a cameo appearance on an episode of the MTV program Road Rules and in 2001 released Sin Chisme.