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Santana brings four decades of Latin rock to Reno
by Sarah Cooper
Oct 08, 2008 | 983 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Courtesy Photo/Silver Legacy Resort- Famous spanish rocker, Carlos Santana, plays Friday at the Silver Legacy Resort.
Courtesy Photo/Silver Legacy Resort- Famous spanish rocker, Carlos Santana, plays Friday at the Silver Legacy Resort.
While the turbulent culture of the 1960s swirled around his San Francisco neighborhood, a Latino teenager sat beneath the dim lights of a local nightclub, tickling staccato melodies from the guitar at his fingertips.

That same boy, Carlos Santana, and his love affair with the guitar had started years earlier, as an 8-year-old playing for tourists on the streets of Tijuana, Mexico. But it was in San Francisco in 1966 that he took his affinity for the guitar from a passion to a profession, forming the Santana Blues Band with a few friends from Bay Area's nightclub music scene.

Only a couple years later Santana smiled out from the bright Woodstock stage, his future paved with multi-platinum albums, a record breaking sweep of the Grammy Awards and a turbulent swing with his band members.

The guitarist has spent almost four decades sending his music across thousands of audiences across the globe. Friday, Santana will be appearing at the Reno Events Center.

Santana has made a career fusing Latin music with modern rock, earning him 14 gold and nine platinum albums.

In 1969, immediately following his Woodstock performance, The Santana Band released its first self-titled album, which immediately went double platinum. The band’s next record, "Abraxas," went quadruple platinum in 1970. A tornado of tours followed, sending The Santana Band across the globe. Success continued to roll in like a wave with the band's third album, "Santana III," released in 1971.

However, the band would not stay together long after the release of "Santana III," breaking up immediately following the album's promotional tour.

But Santana was not done playing. The musician retained the rights to the band's name and kept performing with anyone who was willing to make up the rest of the band.

And Santana was not done winning awards either. After the breakup of his original band, Santana found Buddy Miles in Hawaii and took the stage with him for a live show. The recording of that show was released in June 1972, eventually going platinum.

One more album later, "Caravanerai", recorded with a motley mix of band members, Carlos Santana formed a partnership with John McLaughlin, a guitarist for the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Their duo album, "Love Devotion Surrender" was released in 1973, reaching the top 20 on the rock music charts and eventually going gold.

The years to follow would take Carlos Santana on a spiritual journey, connecting him with gurus and a psychedelic religious fervor of the turbulent time known as the 70s.

McLaughlin and Santana shared a spiritual leader in guru Sri Chinmoy.

After releasing another Santana band project, "Welcome," Carlos next teamed up with another religious disciple, Turiya Alice Coltrane, widow of John Coltrane, for a third duo album. Their collaboration, "Illuminations," was released in September 1974. However, its performance paled in comparison to Santana's previous successes, only peaking in the bottom quarter of the Billboard's Top 100.

The following years were sprinkled with a long list of gold and platinum albums, all collaborations with various artists.

It was not until 1979 that Santana released his first solo album, " Oneness/Silver Dreams — Golden Reality." However, the release would bear the name of Santana's alternate spiritual identity given to him by guru Sri Chinmoy – “Devadip,” meaning "the eye, the lamp and the light of God."

The album did not do well and like "Illuminations," only peaking in the bottom quarter of the Billboard Top 100.

Santana continued releasing music at the same manic pace he had before, putting out six more albums and a musical score for "La Bamba" before winning his first Grammy in 1987 for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.

Finally, in 1994, Santana took a five-year absence from the music scene. His reappearance came in 1999 with the release of "Supernatural" on Artista Records. The album would build on his decades-long reputation for collaboration and feature songs written by Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20, Eric Clapton, Lauryn Hill and others.

The Santana Band was the first group to receive the CBS Records Crystal Globe Award, for international album sales exceeding five million. And then in 2000, Santana collected eight Grammy awards, with the song “Smooth” winning both Record of the Year and Song of the Year and “Supernatural” picking up the prize Album of the Year.

Show starts at 7 p.m.

Tickets for Santana are available through Reno Events Center Box Office for $49.50, $69.50 and $99.50 or by logging on to

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