July 20 ~  Music from the Heart Shaman

"All music is important if it comes from the heart." ~ Carlos Santana

A musician who plays from the heart, Latin blues-rock guitarist Carlos Santana (1947-) was born on this day in the village of Autlan, Mexico.

A third generation musician, he learned the basics when he was five from his father, a mariachi violinist. Young Carlos built on the basics, anxious to play rock and blues like his idols B. B. King and John Lee Hooker.

The family moved to San Francisco in 1960, where the diverse music and culture fanned the flames of Santana's creative fire. He was 19 when he formed the band Santana, played Woodstock in 1969, then released Abraxas with the phenomenal Oye Como Va (written by Tito Puente) and Black Magic Woman (a Fleetwood Mac cover) in 1970.

"I don't see myself playing black music or white music or gray music. I play rainbow music. It's like diamonds--all the colors are there, but it's still clear," he explained.

For him, music creates "endless possibilities." Inspired by meditations and dreams, he said great music comes from pure emotion and encouraged new musician to listen and learn from the greats, then find a signature style.

"Practice late at night or when it's really quiet.... Learn this music and then later on, like a snake, get rid of that old skin and find your own."

Called "Soul Man #1" by musician Eric Clapton, Santana's distinctive style celebrates energy and heart. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998, his albums continue to celebrate good music, pumping continual life into his career and inspiring others with passion.

"God made the world round so we can all have center stage," Santana observed, capturing his soulful, sincere sound by honoring the heart of the music.

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Music enters the body and lingers.