Hispanic Icons: Santana
by Judy Cantor-Navas | September 28, 2013
When Carlos Santana moved into the American musical mainstream, he brought his roots with him, creating a fusion that is instantly recognizable as simply Santana. The Mexico-born son of a mariachi violinist, Santana got his start performing on the streets of Tijuana before the family moved to San Francisco, where young Carlos would soak up psychedelia at its source. His namesake band's version of Tito Puente's "Oye Como Va," released on Santana's 1970 breakthrough album, [Abraxas], remains the most widely known Latin rock song of all time. Santana is a shaman whose guitar takes followers on a spiritual trip guided by the ritual rhythms of the congas. His music includes not only evergreens ("Black Magic Woman", "Evil Ways"), extended jams ("Soul Sacrifice") and later pop-rock collaborations ("Smooth," "Corazon Espinado"), but also lesser known examples of Spanish-language soul ("Primavera") and Hispanic protest songs ("Migra"). Here, with over two hours of music, we pay tribute to the guitar god who showed the world that Latin music rocks.