Guitar supremo Carlos being true to himself

Birmingham | Entertainment | Published:

Guitar legend Carlos Santana will return to Birmingham with a headline date at the city's LG Arena on Wednesday.

The gig will be part of his first UK tour in three years and fans can look forward to passion and soul equal from the legendary guitar maestro and his band.

Santana have sold more than 90 million records worldwide, performed to more than 100 million people globally and have won 10 Grammy Awards during an incredible career.

They are into their fourth decade of recording and performing their own fusion of rock, jazz, latin and blues.

The band's LG show follows the successful release in 2012 of Santana's Shape Shifter album.

Though Carlos Santana has enjoyed one of the most incredible careers of all rock musicians – causing a sensation at Woodstock, and being inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame – his favourite times are when he sets sail for unknown musical territories.

"I'm happy to say it happens all the time," he says, "but it's based on the subtle things, the unconscious. You have to go inside the notes and see what's there, the things you don't know about.

"Teachers should say to kids, 'OK, you know the notes, the chords – now play something you don't know. That's when it really happens."

Shape Shifter was released last year to widespread acclaim. "It's more a collection of stories than songs," says Santana.


"Songs require intros, choruses, bridges, endings. On this record, it was more about 'close your eyes and play.' They're still songs, but they're not directed at radio.

"I was just being true to what I felt." The record is largely instrumental, which Santana found deeply satisfying.

"In a lot of ways, yes, because I don't need to accommodate lyrics, and I don't need to accommodate artists.

"I say this in a funny way, but it's more about letting a Mexican play the guitar, you know?


"I'm never going to wait so long to brew 'em like this anymore. I'm going to make sure that I do one album like this and then another kind.

"I remember reading that John Coltrane would do one Pursuance album, and then he'd do a ballads album where he'd hardly play a solo – he'd just play the melody verbatim.

"I'm just really grateful I can do this kind of record.

"Jeff Beck does it all the time. Very seldom now does he do things with vocalists like Rod Stewart.

"For me, I need the balance. It's more like loose sketches, and then closing your eyes and letting it happen.

"For me, it's normal and natural to play this way.

By Andy Richardson

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