Entertainment

Carlos Santana vows to keep his music fresh at Bluesfest

THE joyful energy that pours off stage during a Santana concert is present in bucketloads in a conversation with the band's founder, Carlos Santana.

The man radiates enthusiasm and lust for life - and an aspiration to keep his music fresh.

Talking about what he was likely to offer the Friday night Bluesfest audience this year, he said while there would be material from each of the five decades he had been a star act, it wouldn't be a tour down memory lane.

The show has "a new intro, a new middle and a new ending, and we have a lot of new music", Santana said.

"I know that people want to hear songs they are familiar with - and we have that. But we also have some new energy, some new music that has to be presented."

That music will "absolutely" be fresher even than that heard on 2012's Shape Shifter - their 36th album, which for the first time incorporates Native American influences, yet another ingredient in the melting pot of Santana's rich, multi-coloured sound.

That sound has drawn on Latin, rock, jazz and blues - an endless exploration of genres - with a frequent revision in line-up.

Santana will also be bringing his wife Cindy on tour - part of his celebration of what he sees as "the global family", a move on from the "prehistoric notion of patriotism, whereby people look after each other without distance or separation or superiority or inferiority".

But despite the multiple personnel changes, many of the musicians he will be bringing have been playing with him for years: there's percussionist Paul Rekow, a member since 1976, and vocalist Tony Lindsay, around since '91, and many others from the Supernatural album era.

And while Shape Shifter is a largely instrumental album, long-term vocalist Andy Vargas will also be making the journey.

The album was the result, Santana said, of requests from a lot of people "just wanting to hear a Mexican play the guitar" after his many recordings with guest vocalists.

Does he think of himself in such modest terms?

"I see myself as someone who was very blessed to be on the planet at a particular time, with a lot of great people, from Bill Graham to BB King to Tito Pepe to Miles Davis. A lot of people really went out of their way to call me and shape me like glass, with their advice," he said.

"Not too many people can say that Miles Davis called them at three o'clock in the morning, which he did, and we would talk for a long time about music.

"There's very few people who have that variety, from A-Z, all the colours of the rainbow, from Pablo De Lucia, John McLaughlin, Herbie Hancock, Jaco Pastorius or Stevie Ray Vaughan.

"Very few people have had that input, plus all the African musicians.

"Most people only do yellow. 'I only play yellow,' they say. But I play all the rainbow ... each colour. I like to have an open heart and an open mind, to complement whatever gets in front of me. So far the only thing I haven't done is river dance music, polka and waltzes."

With so many genres calling to him, how does he decide which direction to go in?

"The decision comes from a desire to grow and unfold. As I've been thinking of it in the past few days, it's 'get the hampster outside the cage'," Santana said.

"I don't want to be a hampster rotating in the same merry-go-round. I want to leave the cage and go climb a tree. It's really beautiful to shape shift yourself into an eagle or a dolphin, or a lion."

Such creative drive comes from a willingness to tell your brain to not think so loud, so you can hear your real inner voice, which will constantly bring you something fresh, he said.

"When you wake up in the morning you need to flick the switch: to gratitude, appreciation, desire, aspiration.

"It's okay to not be afraid of words like inspired and horny. All those words are dealing with energy. You don't need pills or stimulants, what you need is to motivate yourself to see everything as if for the first time. You and I need thrust. The concepts of beauty, excellence, elegance, grace, dignity are very, very vibrant and very charging.

"And it's your choice to make yourself an effervescent, vibrant person.

"It is within the individual's power alone to make every day the best of their life."

For his legion of fans, that night at Bluesfest is likely to count as just that: one of the best of their lives.

Bluesfest is at Byron Bay from March 28 to April 1. The festival was nominated as the Best International Music Festival of 2012 in the Pollstar Awards - only the second time in the 24 years of the awards an Australian event has been nominated in this category.

Topics:  bluesfest



Aussies dominate doubles

TENNIS' FUTURE: Australian Lizette Cabrera hits a backhand shot in a tightly-fought doubles match with Olivia Tjandramulia against Monique Adamczak and Olivia Rogowska at the Tweed Tennis International at Arkinstall Park. Adamczak and Rogowska advanced 6-7 (6) 7-5 (10-5).

Tweed Coast Tennis International heating up.

Casuarina sets the benchmark in Tweed market

Our property market is as strong as it's been since the crisis

Local Partners

WATCH: Justin Bieber grabbed in Germany

A video has emerged of singer Justin Bieber being attacked

Why The Wrong Girl is right for Jessica Marais

Jessica Marais and Ian Meadows in a scene from the TV series The Wrong Girl.

ACTOR makes the sometimes awkward character her own in new comedy.

What's on the small screen this week

Jessica Marais in a scene from the TV series The Wrong Girl.

A NEW romantic comedy debuts while footy codes ramp up for finals.

Airbourne talk drop bears, beer and taxes

Airbourne have a new album coming out and a new tour on the way.  Photo Contributed

Airbourne release album for the aussie battler

Pippa Middleton had 3000 private photos stolen

Author Pippa Middleton

Author's account hacked to access 3000 private photos

Gruen star discovers the body's limits in new hit TV show

Todd Sampson tries out MMA fighting during TV series BodyHack.

Gruen star pushes the limits in new TV series

Casuarina sets the benchmark in Tweed market

Our property market is as strong as it's been since the crisis

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record

SOLD: Historic hotel finds new owner

Post Office Hotel Grafton

Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner

Pub in new hands and heading in a brand new direction

Peppers Airlie Beach put on the market

ON THE MARKET: Peppers Airlie Beach is being for recievership sale by CBRE Hotels and PRD Nationwide Airlie Beach.

Peppers Airlie Beach is being offered for sale.