Try to speak with Carlos Santana about his new album and he’ll want to talk about another topic: changing the world.
The veteran musician says he is planning a concert aimed at encouraging and motivating the development of young black and Latino men in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s death and Donald Sterling’s racist comments. He wants to hold the event next year in Florida and is working with Harry Belafonte.
“I’m not show biz and entertainment, I’m an activist,” he said. “I’m a person who with passion believes that we can change the world, we can transform hate and fear forever with the right songs and the right timing.”
Santana’s latest album, “Corazon,” debuted at No. 9 on the Billboard 200 albums chart last week. It features Juanes, Gloria Estefan and Miguel, and Santana said it wasn’t hard finding “Cinderella or Cinderfella” to guest on the songs, which he calls “glass slippers.”
“We said, ‘Hey man, this is going to be great at the Latin Grammys. We got to make an impact there,’” he recalled. “And I go, ‘Latin Grammys, why stop there? Why don’t we go to the World Cup?’ Well guess what, we’re closing the World Cup with brother Wyclef (Jean)!”
In an interview with The Associated Press, Santana, 66, had advice for Jay Z, and talked about his tour with Rod Stewart.
AP: How does it feel to release another album?
Santana: I feel really, really honored to gain people’s trust. People opened their hearts and their wallets. ... It allows me to do more things with my brother Harry Belafonte and (activist) Dolores Huerta. ... And so we want to have a concert and bring Jamie Foxx and different kinds of artists, musicians of all colors and utilize this attention and this energy. ... Obviously (with) what happened with Donald Sterling and what’s happening with people throwing bananas at soccer stadiums, you know, we have a lot to heal.
AP: Who else do you want to invite to the concert?
Santana: I’d like to bring (NBA Hall of Famer) Dr. J (Julius Erving) and (former NBA player and mayor of Sacramento) Kevin Johnson to San Quentin and talk to the brothers, black and brown, broadcast it in all the prisons and call the event ‘You Cannot Break My Spirit.’
AP: How did your tour with Rod Stewart come about?
Santana: I can say it the way Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock would say it, ‘Both of us love to play spiritual music to touch all hearts.’ That’s one thing. The rascal in me ... says, ‘We both love black music. We like to play black music for white people.’
AP: There are a number of collaborative tours this summer, from Kiss and Def Leppard to Beyonce and Jay Z. Who would you like to see hit the road together?
Santana: I’d like to see Metallica and Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock to broaden the wings. Metallica did a thing with a symphony, so they’re capable, of course, of playing without volume or with volume. I just like to expand popularity with genius. ... I invite brothers like Jay Z who have the money to start bringing the African brothers back to the United States. Since 9/11, if your name is Idrissa Diop or if you have a Muslim name, they won’t let you in. But they let the Irish people in and they let the Canadian people in and people from Australia. Man, how come you don’t let the African people come in? ... If I had the money and the means that Jay Z has, I would bring African musicians. ... I’m going to invite them. We’re going to create something like this in Las Vegas where we can co-headline, because these brothers need to be taken to schools in America so the brothers (here) can learn how to play the drums again. That’s the thing I have in common with Africa — I understand the drum ... it’s in my DNA.