Carlos Santana, world music icon, guitar hero, granted a huge performance to 10.000+ fans on May 28th 2010, at Mawazine festival. A great opportunity for Actuel Magazine to meet this legendary musician.
– Actuel : People often assimilate World music to Fusion & vice versa. Do these labels make sense to you ?
– Carlos Santana : « Fusion is confusion » !!! Sticking labels on musical trends or genres is totally irrelevant and pointless. For me, labels simply don’t exist. Artists aren’t concerned by them. Even if human beings often rely on them, they make sense only to marketing people who can’t help segmenting everything, definitely not to musicians.
– Actuel : Since your early days, you’ve been mixing & combining various musical styles. Then you started engaging in numerous & various collaborations with younger artists since the 90s. Why this evolution in your musical agenda ?
– Carlos Santana : The plan was simple : renewal, regeneration, not settling for comfort. Getting into new grooves & harmonies with open-mindedness, absorbing new beats. It allowed me to remain in touch with the music and the talents of the times.
– Actuel : After visiting so many musical styles, the Santana Touch remained unaltered, recognizable, unique. Could you tell us you secret ?
– Carlos Santana : that’s a beautiful question ! Actually, the idea is to remain transparent to the flow, to let it go through me while being as cristal-clear as possible. It implies to let the ego out of the way. You can then face and accept yourself as you really are, and project emotions as genuine as possible. And when you succeed in that, the public can also face itself like in a mirror, and feel the magic on the moment.
– Actuel : Nowadays, thousands of bands in developing countries engage in that very path you’ve been exploring for decades. Do you think – as a Mexican born artist – your example conveys an image of hope to these fusion artists worldwide, as to achieving global success, like Bob Marley, Myriam Makeba and other did in their time?
– Carlos Santana : For me, success requires honesty to last. When soloing, what matters is : where you’re coming from ? Where are you going to ? Where are you leading your audience ? what message are you trying to share with these people ? The revelation that anyone can make a difference, whenever they’re giving something genuine to others, in a pure and clear manner, and let the public enjoy it « real time ». You have to be willing to participate in a miracle. You also have to keep the same ability to be amazed – in awe – that you had as a kid.
– Actuel : As one of the fusion style pioneers since the 60-70s, what advices would you give your numerous “spiritual sons” in Morocco, currently in the process of refining their musical identity, born of several cultures as well ?
– Carlos Santana : for me everything is real time, the magic of the moment. When you succeed in that, that’s when you can reach the heavens momentarily. You feel good, in tune with the world.
– Actuel : Could you cite contemporary world artists in which you recognize “spirituals sons”, when you recall your early days ?
– Carlos Santana : The first names than come to my mind would be Ben Harper, or Jamie Lang.
– Actuel : Did you get the opportunity to listen to moroccan fusion bands ?
– Carlos Santana : Unfortunately, I know mostly of Cheb Khaled in the Maghreb. However, I do feel something really special for the gembri used in gnawa music. There is something unique about the movement one can convey with this instrument.
(Interivew by Jamil El Andaloussi)