Shedding Light in the Darkness

Carlos Santana on Loving Maui & A Prescription for Fear

santana“You have to have a supreme karma to live on Maui, or even to visit it,” says Carlos Santana. “There are people who may never even see Maui in this lifetime. It’s like I’m replenishing when I come to Maui or the islands. I feel like I’m sucking up all kinds of glorious energy. There’s something extremely divine.”

Santana i setting out on a “Transmogrify Tour,” which refers to a process of transformation. “The Transmogrify Tour means that because of the sound, resonance and vibration that Santana emanates as a band we’re able to assault the senses, give people chills, they laugh, they cry, they dance, and they remember what it was like to be seven years old again,” he explains. “You’re not into judging and criticizing and having a cynical outlook on things. So that’s why we call it transmogrify as it’s a way of saying change your arrangements in your brain and receive blessings and miracles.

“You come to realize after a while that miracles happen when there is willingness and you allow willingness to change your mind. Things don’t happen with people that are curmudgeons or cynical. I call them cement brains. Few things can grow with a cement mind with false pride, fear and arrogance.”

The tour title also connects with our current political climate. “There’s so much in the climate right now of selling fear, probably more than ever before,” he notes. “Everything’s about constantly selling you fear. People on the island can grab and chew on this like good gum – my light will see me through.”

The son of a noted mariachi violinist, Santana grew up in Tijuana, in a neighborhood with no electricity or running water. In his early teens he began playing guitar and bass in local rock bands. Santana explains his unique, distinctive guitar sound came to him in his formative days. “There’s a saying abut a deer. A deer was making itself crazy running all over the woods to look for musk and it didn’t realize that musk was already in its fir. I tried for the longest time to sound like B.B. King and Freddie King and Albert King and Otis Rush and Buddy Guy and Eric Clapton, all the people I loved. I used to hide myself in the closet in the dark and just play, so I could get closer to those I loved in sound. Then I realized no matter how much I tried I just sound like me. Why am I fighting it?”

Santana will next release a record with soul great, Ronald Isley of the Isley Brothers, in late summer. “It’s called ‘Supernatural Power of Peace,’ and with everything that’s happening on this planet with people selling fear this CD will blow people away because it’s such a balm, it’s such a healing energy,” Santana enthuses.

Some of the songs they interpret on the album include Marvin Gaye’s “Mercy, Mercy Me;” “Love, Peace & Happiness” by the Chambers Brothers; Muddy Waters’ “I Just Want To Make Love To You;” Curtis Mayfield’s “Gypsy Woman;” and Willie Dixon’s “It Don’t Make Sense (You Can’t Make Peace).”

“When you hear the CD from the beginning to the end you won’t believe what we did to the songs,” he says. “We totally reconstructed songs like Burt Bacharach’s ‘What the World Needs Now is Love.’ We even do ‘Let There Be Peace on Earth’ at the end, and I purposely did it with congas like you’re in Africa. I’ll go to church if you have congas. If you don’t have congas I’ll stay home and look at the sky. If I need instruments to make a joyful noise I need congas.

“We did an incredible version of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Higher Ground,’ which my wife, Cindy Blackman, arranged and she played drums on it. And you won’t believe what we did to Billie Holiday’s ‘God Bless the Child.’ To hear the songs they way they flow together it’s such a treat to your heart and ears, because it’s opposite of what is happening right now with the big F word, the fear word.”

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