It would not be easy to invite Santana. Not because trying to be attractive by popularity. Instead of acknowledging his stardom, he even is looked humble, a low profiled person. Just as a wise adage proposes, “inside a low profile there is a depth of content. Being a musician, he has enriched music treasury of the world. Through guitar, he was confronted to a variety of cultures. His creativity has brought forth a new color in the scene of rock music; unique and distinctive. As well as being a human being, in more precise; as the world’s inhabitant. His love is articulated into forms of peace, natural harmony and being discarded people.
A concern about natural harmony actually becomes a prerequisite for Santana; whether he is willing or not to attend Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival (4-6/3/2011). The dense of forests which had started to be widely chopped and fell, for the sake of economic growth and the still-extended illegal logging in Indonesia have not only been disconcerted, furthermore he almost cancelled his visit. To assure him, the organizer even has to organize tree raise initiative.
Even more, a rule of prohibited tree had once been proposed by him for the sake of his country’s economic growth. Amid current economic depression in US, Santana had once proposed President Barack Obama to legalize cannabis. “Legalize cannabis and take each profit of it then allocate them for teachers and education requirements. Then, you will see a transformation in America!”(Kompas.com, 8/4/09).
His view is not only on legalizing cannabis, but also hauling cynicism concerning strong political power of the California’s Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger. “I really believe that soon after we might legalize cannabis and wipe off its exploitation out of the list of crime acts, we might really found a very good governor. Who might not take any cash out from educational requirements or teachers’ pocket and put away Schwarzenegger back to the Hollywood, where he might take any leading role for D-category movies and eventually we might found a class-A governor.” It is mordant, nimble and assertive.
Yup, children education has been Santana’s distinctive concern. He puts education as a essential priority for children’s utmost interest, so he founded Milagro Foundation. He dedicates some of his assets gained from albums’ sales, concerts and any other concerns related with his name for impoverished children, for education, health care and children’s art. Milagro means miracle, a miracle of aspirations upon change for discarded people. And it has been done through what has been adhered to his truly soul, music.
Santana was born from musicians’ family. He was grown up at Autlan de Navarro and Tijuana, Mexico. The region’s cultural product—Latin music—has been an important part of Santana’s musicality. He learned techniques in Latin guitar playing, and being skilful thereby. Finally, when he moved to San Francisco, he confirmed himself as a cross-cultural man.
In 1960’s, San Francisco was a capital of hippies. A place where music became channel of hippies’ passion voice: love, peace and rock n roll. Then, music shows’ stages were amplifiers of social protests; music as a lingua franca. Through music, people smashed racial partitions. It opens culture cross-way. In Woodstock 1969, Santana’s music was a distinctive icon.
Latin music was identity of his music; a body of Santana’s music. And Salsa is the heart of its rhythm. Being the important organ, in its each beat, it discharges “nutritional” elements of other music: rock, blues and jazz. Then, his heart supplies soul emotional wave touch. Since in every human’s heart space there are always feelings of longing, love, sadness, anger and happiness, for sure.
No wonder, therefore Santana’s referral musicians are those who plays their music by heart. He knows BB King ever since he was just at the age of 8. He is also a fan of Albert King, Jimmy Hendrix, Mike Bloomfield and Peter Green. Whilst for jazz scene, he admires Miles Davis, John Coltrane and John “Mahavishnu” McLaughlin. Through those pioneers he grasped ardors of avant-garde. Not only on their techniques and sound creativity, Santana loves their spiritual values. He internalized those not only on his speaking and deeds, but also—indeed—his own music. He wanted his twangs of snares become his own distinctive tones. “We have to establish our own tones, creating personal identity, therefore we might be ‘transparent’ and let a sacred spirit plays music through our body. Then, that would be a moment when we would be listened as just like us,” he uttered before journalists prior to perform at the Java Jazz Festival 2011.
Thanks to John McLaughlin, he became student of Sri Chinmoy, a spiritual guru. He was lost in thought and persevered in meditation and learned spiritual values. He extended and fathomed universal consciousness, in order to become a Man in the Universe.
Within a range of 63 years of life, his experience tracks have not been erased by his popularity. Dozens of albums have been released, and he has been exploring the world through his dozens of concerts—places where he was idolized, whilst platinum and distinguished awards have been collected, and surely, he is a rich-man. Nevertheless, he is still Santana who cares about world’s conditions. He is still a hippie, and still plays “politics”.
His music remains a cross-cultural one, even cross-generation. He still respects to the forerunners, amends their holdovers by bending his heart. Just notice to what he said when he was about to release his most recent album—a cover version album–-in 2010, “I am more happy than I have ever been in my life because I am grateful. I am grateful for Clive, I am grateful for Michael Lang and Bill Graham and people who opened doors. Woodstock was a door, Supernatural was a door. Everyone who I ever met, Miles Davis or Tito Puente or B.B. King, all of them have gone out of their way to help me keep going. I have some great teachers, and some of them are my students too. We hope to touch many, many people’s hearts with Guitar Heaven…
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