Carlos Santana

Try to speak with Carlos Santana about his new album and he’ll want to talk about another topic: changing the world.

The veteran musician says he is planning a concert aimed at encouraging and motivating the development of young black and Latino men in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s death and Donald Sterling’s racist comments. He wants to hold the event next year in Florida and is working with Harry Belafonte.

“I’m not showbiz and entertainment, I’m an activist,” he said. “I’m a person who with passion believes that we can change the world, we can transform hate and fear forever with the right songs and the right timing.”

Santana’s latest album, Corazon, debuted at No 9 on the Billboard 200 albums chart last week. It features Juanes, Gloria Estefan and Miguel, and Santana said it wasn’t hard finding “Cinderella or Cinderfella” as guest artists on the songs, which he calls “glass slippers”.

“We said: ‘Hey man, this is going to be great at the Latin Grammys. We got to make an impact there,’” he recalled. “And I go: ‘Latin Grammys, why stop there? Why don’t we go to the World Cup?’ Well guess what, we’re closing (it) … with brother Wyclef (Jean)!”

In a recent interview, Santana, 66, talked about his tour with Rod Stewart, which began last week in Albany, New York.

How does it feel to release another album?

Santana: I feel really, really honoured… People opened their hearts and their wallets. It allows me to do more things with my brother Harry Belafonte and (activist) Dolores Huerta. And so we want to have a concert and bring Jamie Foxx and different kinds of artists, musicians of all colours and utilise this attention and this energy... Obviously (with) what happened with Donald Sterling and what’s happening with people throwing bananas at soccer stadiums, you know, we have a lot to heal.

Who do you want to invite to the concert?

Santana: I’d like to bring (NBA Hall of Famer) Dr J (Julius Erving) and (former NBA player and mayor of Sacramento) Kevin Johnson to San Quentin (prison) and talk to the brothers, black and brown, broadcast it in all the prisons and call the event “You Cannot Break My Spirit”.

And your tour with Rod Stewart?

Santana: As Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock would say it, “Both of us love to play spiritual music to touch all hearts.” That’s one thing. The rascal in me ... says, “We both love black music. We like to play black music for white people.” – Sapa-AP