Trending
MOST READ
Andrew Weissman poised to open The Luxury in addition to two more restaurants

Andrew Weissman poised to open The Luxury in addition to two more restaurants

Food & Drink: In the last few years, San Antonio has seen an exponential rise in the number of quality restaurant offerings, several of... By Diana Roberts 2/27/2013
How Weed Advocates Hope to Spark Legalization in Texas

How Weed Advocates Hope to Spark Legalization in Texas

News: Less than a mile from the Whatcom County Courthouse and even closer to Bellingham High School sits Top Shelf Cannabis, the first store to open and operate after... By Mark Reagan 8/13/2014
Hall & Oates Singer Hated the Late ’80s, Too

Hall & Oates Singer Hated the Late ’80s, Too

Music: It’s hard for musical duos to survive. Garfunkel felt slighted, Cher never needed Sonny and the Captain could never get a word in edgewise with Tennile. When... By Chris Parker 2/19/2014
Phô Nguyen Woos Phonatics

Phô Nguyen Woos Phonatics

Food & Drink: I don’t expect much from Vietnamese restaurants in the way of decor; it’s more not Chinese and not Japanese than anything. I certainly don’t expect... By Ron Bechtol 8/27/2014
Hot Joy’s Here to Stay

Hot Joy’s Here to Stay

Food & Drink: Since its inception more than two years ago as one of the first true pop-ups in the city, Hot Joy’s been a hit. Maybe it was the The Monterey’s... By Jessica Elizarraras 5/28/2014
Calendar

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Music

Santana credits humanity’s birthplace — and Metatron — for his life and sound

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo


Has everything been invented in music? Yes and no. You can always trace what anyone is doing to an earlier master, an earlier sound. But every decade has new waves of music that change the musical map thanks to the inspiration of people who listen to their own muse. Or their own angel.

On August 16, 1969 (the second of the three days of the original Woodstock), Carlos Santana and his band stopped the show with a performance that catapulted him to guitar god status. And even though the mix of congas, electric guitar, and Afro Latin rhythms (African, if you ask him) had been toyed with in different countries, none had the power, skill level, and influence of that fierce rendition of “Soul Sacrifice.” But then and now, Santana refuses to take credit.

“God invented everything, we discovered,” he told the Current on the phone, back and forth in Spanish and English, days before his Sunday show at AT&T Center. “I just always kept my ears open.”

He’s touring for Guitar Heaven: The Greatest Guitar Classics of All Time, an album where he and guests cover songs like “Little Wing” (sang by Joe Cocker, another Woodstock veteran), “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” (Scott Weiland), and “Whole Lotta Love” (Chris Cornell). After the tour ends, he’ll release Shape Shifter, an all-instrumental album of mostly originals that, judging from the quality of its title song, is the most challenging and least commercial Santana album since the ’70s.

“I’m finally ready to do something like that,” he said. “No singers, just the band and my guitar.”

Santana has kept busy ever since the San Francisco tardeadas in the ’60s opened his eyes and ears to a musical universe he internalized with integrity. He’ll never forget the day he saw a mariachi orchestra, a salsa band, and a rock group playing in three different sections of a park in the Bay area.

“People would choose who to listen to, but I heard all three at the same time,” he said. “Then I began to integrate B.B. King with Tito Puente, Cuco Sánchez with Ray Barreto, and Mongo Santamaría with Miles Davis. People said that it was something new, but for me it was only natural.”

The most popular names of the era (Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, the Doors) were basically playing the blues, only increasingly louder. They were taking inspiration from the same blues and rock ’n’ roll artists admired by the young Santana. “The only thing that was different was that I began to listen more to Tito Puente, Miles Davis, and [John] Coltrane. I began to integrate the thing with more latitude. Instead of being a one-trick dog, I learned the whole book.”

But he has always known where it all comes from. He not only refuses to take credit for it, he doesn’t want anyone besides the true owners to claim ownership either. “Ninety-nine percent of my music comes from Africa,” he said. “Sorry, Puerto Ricans, and sorry Cubans, who think they invented it. But those are lies. They didn’t invent chicken broth. Chicken broth was invented in Africa. Danzón, cha-cha-cha, mambo, bolero, cumbia … I can name 1,000 rhythms — they all come from Africa. The only thing that doesn’t come from Africa is Riverdance. Even polka can be integrated with ska. A lot of people get mad at me and say, ‘Why do you give so much credit to the negros?’ Because it’s their music! If I play at all, it’s thanks to them! Thanks to them I have what I have! That’s why I send a lot of money to Africa, because I clearly articulate the music of my African brothers.”

We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus