Music is in Salvador Santana's blood and has been for generations. Ever heard of 10-time Grammy award winning guitarist Carlos Santana? Salvador Santana just calls him dad. American blues icon Saunders King, and legendary violinist Jose Santana are his grandfathers. In his family, "anyone can pick up an instrument and play," he says. And he expanded that instrument collection with his particular expertise in the piano and keyboard.
Santana calls the piano a percussive instrument. He says his father thought it imperative to learn the rhythm and tempo of music before attempting melody and harmony. So he began playing the drums, then the guitar, but it was the piano at age 6 that really spoke to him. It told him that the piano isn't a delicate instrument, but has a rhythm and beat of its own. "It wants you to go to town on it," he says. Santana has been tickling the ivories ever since.
"Tickling" might not be the word to describe one of his most memorable moments as a child. In 1989, he remembers being seated at one of many student pianos surrounding his teacher in a large San Francisco office room. Each student was given a chance to play individually, and during Santana's performance the room began shaking violently. "I started crying because I thought I caused it," he says. Well, that's one way to remember the San Francisco Bay earthquake of 1989. Luckily, this didn't deter him from pursuing the piano, and probably helped him understand the real power his music could unleash.
From ballad to beat, the versatile range of Santana's sound reflects his optimistic view of life. "In a world where 99 percent is darkness, lets focus on that one percent of light," he says.
When he says, "I play life," it means he doesn't believe in specific musical genres, but rather the overall love and positivity every type of music holds in it. He can't stress enough the importance of filling life with things you love rather than hate.
His genuine messages are complemented by the rhythmic prose of poetic lyrics. "In the music industry, you have to be a writer," he says. New singles, "Into the Light" and "Mi Tesoro," exemplify the authenticity, clarity and conviction of love and hope in his voice. He was taught the power of spoken and unspoken word from his mother Deborah, a poet and writer. Vocal lessons are taking him out of his comfort zone and stretching his music even further.
As you can imagine, Santana understands the importance of musical collaborations. Other musicians bring out the best in him, and he hopes to bring out the best in them. No collaboration is more important than what he has with his own band. "We all just fit like a glove," he says. He says that night in and night out, the excellence the band exudes and the individual talent each member possesses is a blessing.
There are no hidden agendas with Salvador Santana. His humble and grateful nature are truly represented in his music. Life is a celebration and he wants everyone to celebrate with him. The goal for each show is for each audience member to dance from start to finish. When the band comes to SLC on March 5, the audience can expect Santana to "start strong and finish even stronger."