'Male is rhythm, female is melody'

Strings Attached

It might have taken forever and a day for the guitar wizard to come to India, but on Thursday when Mexican-American rock guitarist Carlos Santana spoke to the media, the universality of his tone was loud and clear.

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The wait, clearly, was worth every moment.

The icon’s arrival in his signature style, accompanied by wife Cynthia Blackman Santana, was a bit too surreal. Poignant were his opening words.

“I am grateful to God for the glorious opportunity to visit the land of philosophy and spirituality. I connect from my heart to yours. We are one family.”

That it has always been ever since he made a tryst with this country in the 60s through the music of Ali Akbar Khan and Pandit Ravi Shankar. All the while not forgetting to underline the “spiritual principles that India is so rich of”.

The man who created a whirlwind in the mid ’60s at Woodstock, whose techniques on the guitar are a lesson in intricacy and precision, recollected, “The highlight of my life is playing with supreme geniuses like Miles Davis, B B King...”
 
Santana, who has four decades of music behind him, has no qualms working with contemporary artistes. But there is no missing his definition of what good music is and what is not. “Just because you know computers doesn’t mean you are a genius musician.

Today, there are few genius musicians, only a lot of entertainers and showbusinessmen,” he said. And then he spelt out why he is as comfortable with rock as with Latin music and jazz fusion. “I love all the colours in the rainbow.

Music is the language of unity. It is the balance of male and female, where male is rhythm and female, melody. I grew up listening to my father’s music,” he said.

“When I was a child, I just wanted to learn the blues. I was attracted to guitar because violin is difficult to play...and it’s difficult to play blues on the violin,” he smiled and added, “when I hear a guitar playing, I want to hear life, I just don’t like hearing notes.”

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