In a world where Korean pop group BTS dominates the top 10, still soars an iconic band whose founder reintroduced us to María in 1999 and then kept it smooth with Rob Thomas. This past weekend, exactly 50 years after Woodstock 1969, Carlos Santana returned to the original site, which now houses the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, to commemorate the anniversary of Woodstock with an unforgettable performance. Originally planned for Woodstock 50 (let’s just be thankful it didn’t happen), Santana played a mix of classics, such as their rendition of Tito Puente classic “Oye Como Va” as well as some newer material, such as “Breaking Down the Doors” from their latest album Africa Speaks, an album that has been among the top of the Global charts all. In fact, they are the only other artist to appear in the top 5 apart from BTS.
So what makes Santana so successful to this day? That’s easy, Carlos Santana remains one of the greatest guitarists of all time. But this album is so far out compared to anything the band has done before. Santana wanted to create only African music for this record, and he did so by conducting a 10 day recording session with Spanish recording artist Buika and British R&B Gospel singer Laura Mvula produced by Rick Rubin (former co-president of Columbia Records and founder of Def Jam).
Together they recorded 49 songs over the these 10 days, and what came out was quite possibly this decade’s greatest tribal jam session, something the group states is a unique fusion of rock, latin, and jazz. They narrowed it down to 11 tracks to finalize Africa Speaks, which has now maintained its position for over 9 weeks.
Santana manages to continue to capture the innovation of music within their work. They are currently embarking on their Supernatural Now Tour for the remainder of the month, followed by a Las Vegas residency at House of Blues at Mandalay Bay beginning in September and going into 2020. For more information and tickets, make sure to check their website www.santana.com. Until then, here’s a little bit of Africa Speaks.