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Abraxas, Santana

Updated: Mar 24

Shattering Stereotypes with Santana

As I delved into the roots of classic rock music, my exploration led me to iconic bands like The Who, Grateful Dead, Jimmy Hendrix, and Janis Joplin, all of whom graced the legendary Woodstock stage. Amidst these musical legends, Santana sparked a unique curiosity. The name Santana appeared in Mexican history books, and some of their songs were sung in Spanish, revealing that Carlos Santana, the band's leader, was Mexican. A fellow compatriot among British and American rock royalty? It seemed improbable, yet undeniably inspiring. At that time, though I couldn't articulate it, I harbored a belief that Mexicans were destined for a life constrained by third-world limitations. Santana's career planted a seed of possibility, igniting my desire to transcend borders and embrace new experiences.

Santana's breakthrough at Woodstock was serendipitous. A fledgling band with a newly released album, they were invited to fill in for a canceled act. Their electrifying performance catapulted them to stardom, culminating in the release of "Abraxas," a seminal album that solidified their place in the San Francisco music scene of the early '70s. Even today, Carlos Santana remains one of our time's most revered guitarists and musicians, defying expectations and proving that greatness knows no boundaries.

"Abraxas" epitomizes Santana's signature style, blending virtuosic guitar with rock, Latin, and blues elements. With founding members of Journey, Greg Rollie and Neil Schon, and the percussive brilliance of "Chapito" Areas, the album captivates listeners with its fusion of contrasting musical influences.

Abraxas starts with the instrumental “Singing Wind,” a track frequently used to set the stage at Santana's concerts, serving as a captivating warm-up for the audience. Following this, the following two songs, always performed consecutively, form the cornerstone of Santana’s musical style. “Black Magic Woman,” written by Fleetwood Mac’s Peter Green, showcases Santana's mastery of guitar and blues, while “Oye Como Va” encapsulates his Latin roots. Side 1 closes with “Incident at Neshabur,” another instrumental. Side 2 contains one of those songs that define Santana's guitar playing and that most people worldwide have probably heard, and that is the background of events, hotel lobbies, music videos, etc: “Samba Pa Ti.” 

November 5, 1988, marked my first concert. Santana broke the spell that had kept bands skipping Mexico in their world tours. We were some of the first in line to enter the stadium and sat in the sun in front of the stage for the whole day, only to be pushed out by a mob when Santana started playing. He opened the show by praying “Our Father,” creating an instant connection with the audience.

Santana's music became more than just songs; it became a beacon of inspiration. It encouraged me to challenge preconceived notions and explore the boundless opportunities life offers. Through Santana's music, I discovered the power of breaking barriers and embracing diversity, embarking on a journey of personal growth and exploration.

Poster of Santana's Legendary concert in Leon Guanajuato

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1 Comment

Don Moi, this is one of your best reviews. Loved it. Vero

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