The Golden Road to LOCKN’ Part 2
Carlos Santana – Artist Spotlight
By John Mikeska
Carlos Santana (the musician) is known as an iconic guitarist of 60’s psychedelia and improvisational/rock music, and his later years as a formidable collaborator on the top 40 charts. Music has afforded Santana celebrity status and international fame which he could most assuredly live without; assuming he could still play his music. This selfless commitment to unadulterated expression has come to define him as a soul rooted firmly in the earth, capable of navigating the spiritual ether with fearless embrace. At home, Carlos says the most important task is taking out the garbage. An essential service to any household, and one that often gets relegated to the youngest child as a menial chore, he champions as an activity that connects you to “the source”.
Santana’s intensely impressive devotion is found clearly in his music. According to Carlos, when he plays the guitar he doesn’t think about scales, modes, notes, key signatures or anything else musicians might scramble to think about on stage. “That’s for elementary school music.” Instead, he says the feel and manner of expression are his focus so that he may connect with “higher-level energies”.
In his book The Universal Tone: Bringing My Story To Light he references an earlier interview about his technique. “A writer once asked me what I think about when I’m soloing – this was in the early 90’s, when all three of my children were just kids, I told him I thought about combing my daughters hair before they went to bed, ow careful I had to be so I didn’t make them cry. Playing a good solo is about being sensitive and not rushing, letting the music tell you what and when and how fast. Its about learning to respect yourself by respecting the music and honoring the song.” This sort of interconnected mindset is something we’ve come to love and appreciate from the one they call, “ Santana.”
In performance, you get the overwhelming sensation that he’s making connections with musicians, the audience, and the original source of these forces for the purpose of facilitating emotional connections. Whats more, he isn’t trying to sell records or appeal to preconceived notions of his celebrity..
After all, it was Santana who came up with the now famous Phish analogy “The Hose”, where he attempted to describe the nature in which Phish channels and amplifies the emotional energy flow through their music and showers the audience through the “pressurized hose” of performance before the audience sends the energy back to complete the continuum.
His unique insight into the interworking of Phish:Phanner connectivity, provides an interesting look into the mind of a visionary.
“Make no mistake, the advent of Carlos Santana playing with Phil Lesh isn’t an accident or a money grab. On the inevitable path of the culmination of their careers, Phil Lesh, Warren Haynes, John Molo, Barry Sless, and Rob Barraco are making music in invigorating and inspiring ways. Carlos stands to bring passionate, red-blooded performance to the stage.”In reference to his album, “Shaman”, Carlos made the reference that shaman are merely facilitators of energy transfer. For example, if you’ve ever brightened someones day, or picked them up when the were feeling down, and/or made them angry or sad… then you too are a shaman.
Keeping on with the tradition of inspired performances during a musically enlightened time, Santana is set to facilitate, inspire and bring into existence, a conglomeration of energies and motivational forces that anyone who would take the time to read this article would be hard pressed to miss.
Having said that, if you fancy yourself at least marginally self-aware and a patron of live music then I believe I’ll be seeing you at this Lockn’ set (if you know what’s good for ya).