Santana’s Yin & Yang Groove
The endurance of Carlos Santana is linked to his Yin and Yang Business Sense (Goodman). According to Santana who calls himself a “Mexican born American”, his belief system is a gift from his parents (Ruhlmann). His mother, Josefina Barragan Santana taught him that “Everything in life is borrowed from the Lord” and therefore he should make the best of it for nothing is forever. His father, Jose Santana told him “life is service” (Remstein 15-16). Both mottos are resilient enough to withstand life’s pressures, as Santana evidences through his life’s work.Santana was born in Autlan de Navarro, Mexico in the State of Jalisco on July 20, 1947, where both his parents grew up. Santana’s first seven years were spent with his siblings in a peaceful rural town. Although they had no running water or means of electricity, the family was happy. The children in his family used their time wisely enjoying craft making and simple games. Carlos was introduced to faith by his parents who practiced Catholicism. There was a close bond between all the Santana children and their parents, but Carlos found a special connection with his father through music. Carlos and his family moved to Tijuana to improve their finances, unbeknownst to the children for when you have little, you don’t miss having more. It was here in Tijuana that Carlos’ love of music began to flourish into a career path (Remstein 15-21).Eventually, Carlos’ parents decided to move their family to the United States in order to get away from the tourist bar scenes of Tijuana. Carlos knew Moving to San Francisco meant losing independence. Carlos sulked so much that his mother finally let him go back to Tijuana. “He relished in his independence, but found it difficult to survive” (Remstein 21). Carlos did survive; barely – but he survived. The struggles he faced in this part of his life (hunger, lack of shelter, exhaustion and molestation from his father’s friend) developed his desire to succeed. After a year of longing Josefina along with Carlos’ older brother returned to drag him back to their family life in San Francisco (Remstein 21). “Carlos was so angry about being forced to return he refused to speak during the entire trip home”; he eventually submitted to his mother’s tough love (Leng 15).After being on his own for a year Santana found it even harder to fit in with his junior high classmates. He was bored by his classes and spent his time day dreaming about performing with accomplished musical artists. He did however enjoy one subject – Art; and actually fathomed the idea of studying it in college (Remstein 23). Of course we all know that he did not follow his visual art desires of junior high. Nonetheless he is able to express his visual artistic abilities through his musical career. Carlos takes an active part in developing his album covers, stage backdrops clothing and/or promotion items. He has also developed successful fashion businesses, which are sold through his business website and other promotional events.Carlos’ dreams could not be quashed even though his career grew from meager means. He was destined to succeed because he knows how to survive. His parents laid the foundation of his life for him and he agreed to build his house upon their teachings. Even when Carlos was washing dishes in the Mission District of San Francisco his work ethic shined through (Leng 27). Carlos set out to play his guitar well and his efforts were not wasted, as proved by his longevity. “His biggest supporter Bill Graham, the man to who provided him with his first big break – Woodstock 1969” (Leng 49-51) invested wisely.Carlos Santana credits his father, Jose Santana, Bola Sete, Gabor Szabo and Wes Montgomery as his strongest musical influences. He states that: “he was brought up on a diet of European classical music” thanks to his father Jose Santana (Leng 15). His father is also responsible for introducing Carlos to the violin and for purchasing his first electric guitar. Luckily for young Santana his father forgot to send him electrical guitar stringing instructions or an amplifier. Without knowing it Carlos strung his new prize with acoustic nylon strings instead of proper metal strings. Carlos’ classical violin training and these mishaps provided by Jose, brought fruition to Carlos’ trademark “sticky riffs” (Watson).Santana uses an excellent snake metaphor to describe how he adapts his mentors’ unique trademark styles in order to make them his own on a written transcript of a taped television show called “Club Date”. Here is part of it: “First, you should learn this music and then later on, like a snake, you get rid of that old skin and you find your own” (Carlos).Three of Carlos Santana’s most well known trademarks are his seducing guitar playing style, which he learned in the striptease bars of Tijuana (Leng 21); and his most outstanding trademark “sticky riffs” (Watson). Although his riff playing is a very important musical trademark, Carlos is also associated with an ever growing deep spiritual consciousness – thus the nickname “Cosmic Carlos” (Hedegaard).Carlos Santana, the “mystic materialist” has been able to successfully reconcile his strengths in both of these personality traits for over four decades (Goodman). Balancing contradicting traits is something few artists ever accomplish. That is why we classify the few artists who do as the Greats – like this Spiritual Guitar Hero – Santana (Romero).As a child Carlos was indoctrinated into the Catholic faith, but since then he undergone several metamorphosis periods. “In 1972 he was introduced to John McLaughlin’s spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy, a Bengali mystic”. Chinmoy provided the guidance that Santana needed to be able to traverse his new found rock star label. Santana found temporary solace in Chinmoy, as he had already passed through Jesus and Yogananda – an unsatisfied chameleon. During this moment in time Carlos developed the idea of creating a spiritual centre in San Francisco to build a bridge for Spanish-speaking people learn master’s teachings; but true to Santana’s independent nature – this aspiration never bore fruitfulness (Leng 76-178). However, it would not be the last time Santana considered opening a spiritual business.Carlos has traveled around the world and back several times over. He states that he traveled to Jerusalem, to the Holy Sepulcher, and the Vatican comparing them to the back seat of a New York cab, when weighed against the holy ground his family provides (Watson). He and Deborah Santana have produced the following children: Salvador, Stella and Angelica (Shelokhonov). Carlos’ believes that “The only thing that’s sacred is your relationship with your family” (Watson). Santana’s belief in family unity is another trait that was learned from his parents, Jose and Josephina Santana. In between performing sessions he “surrenders willingly” to the holy land of “his wife, children, four sisters and his mother”. This balancing act is difficult under the best circumstances. Santana, however, is a “virtuoso” when it comes to switching gears, as for his family members, that act requires viewing (Watson).With all of Santana’s successes it is quite believable that the angels have smiled upon him. After all not everyone gets two tries at the brass ring. Santana’s spirituality has helped him to rise from the fall of popularity loss on more than one occasion; both professionally and in his personal life which are meshed. Santana’s belief system is also a conglomeration of religious teachings, but to his merit he has chosen the best ideas of each to incorporate into his life. For instance, the guitarist states, “It’s all about perception. If you think you’re nothing, then that’s what you are. If you think you have access to command angels to give you opportunities and possibilities, then lo and behold, you will have that too. You are what you think. Be careful” (Watson).Unfortunately Santana’s personal life took a sad turn in 2007 when he and Deborah Santana divorced stating irreconcilable differences. Since their divorce Carlos confessed to attempting suicide seven times (Hedegaard). He misses his Holy-land of thirty four years (Watson); but as he says, “I’m into honoring and respecting a person’s choice”. He also says that “lighting a candle and Jesus’ voice saved him from death’s knocking” during each attempt (Hedegaard).Santana says that he misses his former home and all the sentimental memories of his family life. He pumps himself up by stating: “But I like it better, this house. As you can tell from every room, it’s like my life right now, wide open” ever hopeful (Hedegaard). Carlos’ track record proves that he will fill his pallet with brilliant colors once again; covering his empty walls with his newest accomplishments. Healing his heart will take time but he will rise again with his Angel’s help.Santana opens his residential performance in Las Vegas this year in May of 2009, at the new Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. “The new project is called Supernatural Santana: A Trip Through The Hits”. It is a musical collection spanning his musical career. Carlos has remained true to his twenty year vision of changing the world, as is evidenced by his “new groundbreaking project entitled, Architects of a New Dawn (www.aoand.com)”. It is designed to empower like-minded people from all walks of life to create positive change in a global community (Romero). Once again Carlos continues to rise by shedding the old and growing with change as he nears the close of his career.Santana is now sixty-two years old but he continues to plan for his future retirement at age 67. He is revisiting the idea of building a spiritual centre only this time in Maui, Hawaii (Watson). He wants to be the preacher and teach the philosophy that he has adapted. He wants to “clarify parts of the bible that people get stuck on, such as: guilt, shame, judgment and fear. The God of that stuff is retarded, demented and not real. The real God according to Santana is beauty, grace, dignity and unconditional love. And I’m the kind of motivator who can motivate people to believe that what I’m saying is good for them” (Hedegaard). When asked to whom he would pass his guitar baton, Santana makes sure to recognize a new female Guitar Hero named Orianthi (Shelokhonov). Orianthi has several YouTube videos for viewing and has already been signed by a label. In one YouTube video Carlos states: “…it’s seriously – ass whopping” (YouTube).Carlos Santana is prepared to retire any time that he wants. He has made several successful artistic choices and business savvy moves throughout his career securing his financial needs for well past retirement. Yet he remains humble after all these years saying:I’m the same guy. I’m still the Mexican dishwasher that startedright there. The hat has gotten big, but that’s just perception. I’mreally not into Santana, I’m not into Carlos. I know what it’s like to beplaying ‘Soul Sacrifice’ to 55,000 people and have women bugging out.OK. But right now, I’m still with the dark night of the soul. I’m still withthe 40 days and 40 nights. And I don’t know how it’s going to unfold.There is no clock, no script. What happens happens on God’s time. Butwho am I to myself? That’s the question. I am a child of God, “and Godis not done with me (Hedegaard).”Erik Hedegaard sums up his interview of Santana with:“And after that, it seems like nothing more needs to be said”(Hedegaard).I agree. Carlos Santana’s career spans several decades. He has been successful because of his unique “Yin & Yang Groove”. He is able to consolidate his business sense with his musical talent. While working for the Office of Cultural Affairs for City of Dallas, managing different kinds of artists; I discovered that a lot of artists struggle with the ability to use both the right and left side of their brain to develop their careers; but that is not the case when it comes to Carlos.
Therefore, with great pride – I present to you “a love letter to the fans” from Carlos Santana.
Here is the link: <a href="url">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDnyfychlxo</...; <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDnyfychlxo>
Works Cited “Yin & Yang Groove” by Violeta Ramirez
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Goodman, Fred. “Spirits Dancing In The Flesh.” RS Rolling Stone. N.p., 20 Sept. 1990. <http://www.rollingstone.com/reviews/album/13874...;. Rpt. in Rolling Stone Magazine. Ed. Jann S. Wenner. N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. pag. Rolling Stone. Web. 10 Oct. 2009. <http://www.rollingstone.com/reviews/album/13874...;.
Hedegaard, Erik. “Carlos’ Cosmic Bummer: Rolling Stone.” Carlos’ Cosmic Bummer. Rolling Stone, 16 Oct. 2008. Web. 15 Oct. 2009. <http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/23356489...;.
“Impact of Mexican Culture on U.S.” Carlos Santana – Singer. Library Think Quest, n.d. Web. 4 Oct. 2009. <http://library.thinkquest.org/C008371/finearts....;.
Leng, Simon. Soul Sacrifice: The Santana Story. London: Firefly/SAF, 2000. Print.
Remstein, Henna. Carlos Santana. Philadelphia: Chelsea, 2002. Print.
Romero, Angie. “Santana Rocks Las Vegas.” Latina. Latina Media Ventures, 10 Oct. 2009. <http://www.latina.com/blogs/get-cultured/santan...;. Rpt. in Latina Magazine. Ed. Mimi Valdes Ryan. New York: n.p., n.d. N. pag. Latina. Web. 11 Oct. 2009. <http://www.latina.com>.
Ruhlmann, William.”Biography – Carlos Santana (Bio 953).Mymusicbase.ru,n.d.Web.20 Oct. 2009.
Santana, Carlos, perf. Santana-The Official Carlos Santana Web Site. Carlos Santana, 1969-2009. Web. 14 Oct. 2009. <http://www.santana.com/carlos/default.aspx>.
Shelokhonov, Steve, comp. “Biography for Carlos Santana.” Carlos Santana (1) – Biography. IMDbPro, n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2009. <http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0005396/bio>.
YouTube. “Badass Female Guitarist – Orianthi”. YouTube.com, 1 March. 2009.
Web. 19 Oct. 2009. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXf8oJq049w.
Watson, Tom, narr. “Carlos Santana Interview.” Modern Guitars Magazine. N.p., 5 June 2006. Web. 14 Oct. 2009. <http://www.modernguitars.com/archives/001975.ht...;.