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Tribute to Carlos Santana

By Yolanda Mejia

Santana came to the world’s attention thanks to that fateful appearance at the Woodstock music festival in 1969. The San Francisco Bay Area music scene was alive and active in the late 1960s, and Santana was one of the many bands to emerge. Carlos Santana’s guitar licks combined with the Latin and African percussion sounds of the congas and timbales was distinctive, and this new sound compelled the world to take notice. Shortly after their Woodstock appearance, the band was signed to a recording contract with Columbia Records, then run by Clive Davis. Santana released their first self-titled album later that same year, where it reached the fourth position on the Billboard US album chart. Soon thereafter would come their first Top 10 hit, “Evil Ways.”

A Tribute to Carlos Santana
Sat, Nov 21, 7pm
Real de Minas Hotel
A benefit for La Biblioteca
Feed The Hungry,
Casita Linda and  AVVAZ-COP21

Santana kept the momentum going by releasing their sophomore album, Abraxas, the following year. The album displayed a maturation of style incorporating the band’s musical influences of blues and jazz. This album included two of Santana’s most well known hits, “Oye Como Va“ and “Black Magic Woman.” It spent six weeks at number one on the Billboard US album chart and remained on the chart for a total of 88 weeks. Santana’s following album, Santana III, also hit number one on Billboard’s album chart.

Santana’s evolving spiritual life and musical influences were reflected in the band’s music of the 80s and 90s. Those albums produced some hits but did not achieve the success of the band’s early releases. Santana eventually left Columbia Records and signed with a few different record labels until coming full circle and signing with Clive Davis’ Arista Records. Clive encouraged Carlos to deviate from his previous direction and collaborate with younger contemporary artists, the result of which produced 1999’s Supernatural album. The single from the album, which brought Santana to a new wider audience’s attention and once again to the top of the charts, was “Smooth,” co-written and sung by Matchbox Twenty’s Rob Thomas. The second single, “Maria, Maria,” also hit number one on the Billboard singles chart, eventually leading the album to sales of over 15 million copies. To date, “Supernatural” is Santana’s most successful album. In 2014, Santana released their first Spanish language album, Corazón.

Carlos Santana’s resurgence in popularity has now taken him to Las Vegas’ House of Blues, where he is the resident act for much of the year.  Aside from his music career, Carlos Santana is now also involved in merchandising his own line of apparel, shoes, handbags, salsa, tequila, and sparkling wine.

A tribute to the music of Carlos Santana will be held at the Real de Minas Hotel on Saturday, November 21, at 7pm. It is a dinner, show, and dance event to benefit La Biblioteca Scholarship fund, Feed The Hungry, Casita Linda, and AAVA (Save The Planet). The musical director for the event is trumpet player Luis Gasca, who recorded the third and fourth Santana albums. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, to help the people of San Miguel with food, housing, education, and cleaner water, we hope to see you at this first annual event.


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