On 2016’s Santana IV, Carlos Santana brought back most of the surviving musicians who made 1971’s Santana III. On his new album Africa Speaks, (out June 7th) the guitarist went in a wildly different direction, recording with an eight piece band – including vocals of Afro-Latin singer Buika and Santana’s wife Cindy Blackman on drums – with Rick Rubin over ten days at Rubin’s Shangri La Studios in Malibu.
They recorded 49 songs in 10 days – “killer, African, dynamic, vibrant, filled with exuberance,” Santana said of the music in an album trailer. “It feels like this was meant to be … like a gift from heaven to receive and give to the masses.”
Santana’s new track “Yo Me Lo Merezco” is an example of that sound – a track that starts out with a hypnotic groove and soulful vocals from Buika before turning into an explosive jam.
Santana is currently on the road, playing an intimate residency in Vegas before the Supernatural Now tour, marking the 20th anniversary of his massive album. The tour hits arenas and amphitheaters all summer.
“For us music is not a profession, it’s a way of life,” Santana said recently. “It’s not a job. We play music as natural as the rain. It has to come into a place to quench the thirst, and there’s a lot of thirsty people out there.”