Music legend Carlos Santana is set to seduce South Africans once again with his signature guitar sound this week, with shows planned for Cape Town, Johannesburg and, for the first time, Durban.
“I’m feeling so good to be performing in Durban for the first time,” he said.
“I want to connect with all of the people that I didn’t get to connect with the last time I was there. I am so excited and honoured to be coming back to South Africa.”
Although he has not performed very often in Africa, the Mexican-American guitarist saw his upcoming tour to the country as a sort of reunion with the people of Africa.
“I feel such a strong connection with the spirit of Africa because I believe that whenever I play my guitar, I am paying homage to my African ancestors, my brothers and sisters, who brought their music to the north all those centuries ago,” he explained.
The keyword in our conversation was spirit, a concept which Santana believes is the one thing that connects everybody, apart from music.
Having been in the industry for more than three decades, Santana has cemented his status as a guitar maestro with fan favourites like Black Magic Woman, Oye Como Va, Maria Maria (featuring The Product G&B) and Smooth (featuring Matchbox Twenty frontman Rob Thomas).
Santana has released over 20 albums and has 10 awards to his name, including Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year, Grammy awards for Best Rock Performance in 2000 and Billboard Music Century Award in 1996.
In 1997 he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was honoured by the Kennedy Centre in 2013.
The Latin rock musician has also extended his legacy with numerous collaborations with musical greats such as Herbie Hancock, Buddy Miles, Bob Dylan and the Isley Brothers, both as an individual artist and with his band, Santana.
“Those were some of the coolest musicians I worked with and I just felt so good to be surrounded by them,” he said.
The name of Santana’s tour, Divination, has a very spiritual meaning for the guitarist.
During the 1970s, when Santana began to shift his style of music, his interest in "the spirit" led him to find another way to connect with his fans and his music.He said when he speaks of divination, he speaks of love and devotion, an explanation which Santana compressed into two words: spirit and sex.
“S-E-X,” he spells out. “When I speak of sex, I’m not talking about the actual physical act of intercourse. No, I’m talking about the connection that people get when they connect with one another spiritually, because I believe that we are all one human; we are essentially connected.”
His spirit and his love for music are interlinked, as is the spirit of his fans, which he feels whenever he plays on stage.
“I feel more connected than ever with the spirit of the human being. It’s what I breathe. I can never lose myself with my music,” he said, laughing.
Santana also mentioned that he had been fortunate enough to be able to find someone to connect with on that spiritual level, someone with whom he could also share his love for music.
That special person is his wife, drummer Cindy Blackman.
“We love playing together. When my wife and I play, we believe that we are changing the molecular structure of what people hear from our music.
Santana’s special guest will be Mango Groove. The group, who need little introduction to South African audiences, have sold more than a million albums.
- Cape Town, 11 April
- Durban, 13 April
- Johannesburg, 14 April