• Carlos Santana

    A famous American Hispanic : Carlos Santana  


    [Devadip] Carlos Santana was born on July 20, 1947 in Mexico. He became world-famous when he performed in Woodstock in 1969.

    He grew up in a typical Mexican family (his parents had six children). They settled in Tijuana, where Santana began playing at clubs and bars with various bands on the ‘Tijuana strip’. At the age of eight, he decided to trade the violin for the guitar after listening to blues and rock & roll on the radio. His early influences were John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, T. Bone Walker and others.

    In San Francisco where his parents relocated in 1962, he started playing in clubs and developed his own style in the Bay Area, at the time a melting pot of various political, cultural, and artistic trends.

    In 1966, his Santana Blues Band makes its debut, playing mixes of salsa, blues, rock and jazz. He started recording world-famous hits (Evil Ways, Abraxas, Oye Como Va, Tito Puente, Black Magic Woman, No One to Depend On, Everybody’s Everything.). The band broke up in the early 70s.




    Santana’s mystical  approach.

    In 1972 Mahavishnu Orchestra guitarist John McLaughlin introduced Santana and his wife to the Indian teacher Sri Chinmoy. Santana, who feels deeply connected to the divine within himself*(1), was renamed Devadip which means "The lamp, light and eye of God.” He particularly wants his music to be universal: “I have the courage to say I transcended* (2) being American or Mexican. I have no allegiance or alliance to any flag or country.”

    He and his wife allocate profits to Artists For A New South Africa (ANSA), funding non-profit organizations that combat HIV/AIDS in South-Africa.

    They are also the founders of the Milagro Foundation, which makes grants*(3) to organizations around the world that work with underprivileged children *(4) in the areas of health, education and the arts.


    How Hispanic is Carlos Santana?

    - Paradoxically he has become one of the most famous Hispanic people because of his contributions to the concept of world music: “My mission is to awaken people to a global heart.”, he said in 2006.

    - Beside his Mexican origin, and his early training in the musical town of Tijuana, remember that his father was a professional Mariachi violinist. Carlos was five years old when his dad taught him the violin.

    - In the mid-70s, he re-embraced his Latin-rock roots (Amigos, Festival, Moonflower, Zebop). Then came Milagro, and Sacred Fire-Live in South America in 1993. His biggest hit ever was Supernatural. (Smooth, a Latin-based pop song, and María, María). In 2000, Santana also won three Latin Grammy Awards with Corazón Espinado and El Farol. Carlos is also featured on Gloria Estefan’s latest single No Llores from the album 90 Millas.

    - his sound is a mix of salsa, blues, reggae or rock; the rhythm, and the drums, are typical of Latino music. His titles are very often in Spanish.


    Links: Careful with the following site, apparently connected to dianetics*(5): < http://www.hispanic-culture-online.com/carlos-santana-biography.html >

    Vocabulary: *1. the divine within himself (le divin en soi); *2. Transcend = Fr. dépasser; *3. Grants : Fr. subventions; * 4. Underprivileged: Fr. défavorisés; *5. Autre nom de la scientology.


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