This post would be more appropriate titled something like: Musings over Carlos Santana, Clive Davis and Supernatural, Relationships and Shakespeare
Santana’s Supernatural on Sunday. It is the kind of music you can slip on when you are chilling at home and want to inspire your ears. Each song incorporates a unique vocal styling (like the Mana collaboration with Fher’s famous vocals in Spanish). One regret I have in my life is that I did not discover Carlos Santana’s music until I was in my late 20s. During my adolescence music was going through an evolutionary process of its own. A shift in pop culture was happening and the birth of Punk and Indy rock genres was taking place simultaneously. I don’t think I would have have ever been asked to “fan” Santana if Facebook existed in 1986. There were better things for me to do in the high school – like write dark poetry to Depeche Mode beats, listen to Robert Smith’s lamentations over tortured guitars in the Cure, learn French, daydream about tapas in Barcelona and dye my hair a tangerine hue in a moment of self expression.
For the opportunity to appreciate Carlos Santana’s music I feel I owe a eternal gratitude to Clive Davis. This album and project is a fantastic example of the value of relationships that are built and not borrowed – the true spirit of community. Clive originally signed Santana to his label in 1969 – the year I was born. For the Gen Y readers of this blog, Santana’s music was popular with the Baby Boomers however my parents were of the country music persuasion and consequently never played on the 8-track in the Ford Pinto. (You get the picture, don’t you?)
When Clive Davis agreed to work Carlos Santana on Supernatural, he facilitated the rebirth of one of rock n’roll’s most ethereal legends. Twenty-five million purchases and eight Grammys later, Santana is on my recommended ‘bucket list’ of artist one should see live and now beloved by a whole new generation and audience. I came across a blog that articulates the Supernatural legend a little further and therefore I quote the Ultimate Santana website on events around an album that rejuvenated a musical brand in a way that few artists have been able to accomplish (it is indeed all about the love…):
“So, how did this all happen? Much of it comes down to chemistry: between Santana and his co-writers and producers, between Carlos and his music, and between the guitar icon and the record company legend. It is with the relationship between Carlos Santana and Clive Davis that the birth of Supernatural started.
Before the album even begin, Carlos had been to five record companies — all of whom had turned him away, dismissing him as a relic whose drawing power was dimmed. It’s poetic justice then, that Clive Davis, who was struggling to keep his own job, agreed to see Santana.
Even more credit must be given Davis for being able to translate the sometimes inscrutable words of Carlos: During the fateful meeting with Clive Davis, Carlos told him that “‘I want to reconnect the molecules with the light, man, you know?’”
“What he means when he says ‘connect the molecules to the light’ is in essence that he wanted a radio-friendly album,” Davis explains. “There’s something about Carlos when he talks like that, and it’s natural,” Davis says. “He has the essence of dignity, the essence of grace and spirituality . . . So that although he’ll talk about the molecules and the light, he’ll talk also in very sensual terms about his music.”
I couldn’t help but be a little envious of all those who got to to be part of the audiences over the past 44 years on the numerous occasion of Santana headlining at Montreux Jazz Festival since he first performed there in 1971 as I walked along Lake Geneva in July after witnessing Buddy Guy captivate an audience with his sticky, funky Blues. As thrilling as that concert was, I missed what I didn’t see – Santana and Buddy Guy together in 2004. I can only just imagine the Mexican maestro riffing his classic work layering textures and tones over the sway of a small sea of sweat-soaked Montreux music pilgrims. And I would have gladly been one of them although Santana did not disappoint when I witnessed his solo show on big stage in Sydney (2008).
Amongst all the songs, duets and collaborations on Supernatural, this one speaks to me today. Dave Matthews, unlike Carlos Santana, was and remains a man that is hard not know about, especially if like me, you grew up on the Eastern seaboard of Virginia. Matthews began his career in Charlottesville and was celebrated on college campuses for both his talent and social activism with initiatives like Farm Aid. His voice and stage presence I have also witnessed and can confirm as remarkable. His musical talent and his magical voice draw the audience in, on every song, every time. The song for which this post is centric to me is a musical trifecta winning with two great artists and simple yet poignant prose:
Love of My Life cites a tender lover’s proclamation:
Where you are that’s where I want to be
And through your eyes are all the things I want to see
In the night you are my dreams
You’re everything to me
You’re the love
Of my life
And the breath
In my prayers
Take my hand
Lead me there
What I need is you here
I can’t forget the taste of your mouth
From your lips, the heavens pour out
I can’t forget when we are one
You alone and I am free
Everyday, every night
You alone, are the love of my life
The words are sweet but bittersweet. Love wishes what love does not have. Is this a song of about separation or celebration? Santana and Shakespeare juxtaposed?
What do you think?