Santana, new album announcement, Africa Speaks, Rock and Blues Muse, Martine Ehrenclou

Photo:Maryanne Bilham

Santana is set to release a new album, Africa Speaks on June 7, 2019 via Concord Records, and produced by legendary producer Rick Rubin.

Throughout his storied career, music legend Carlos Santana has amassed an iconic body of work by pioneering a unique fusion of rock, Latin and jazz. On his upcoming album, Africa Speaks, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame guitarist goes deeper and further than ever before. Inspired by the sounds and rhythms of Africa, the virtuoso musician has created a truly memorable and powerful experience that also promises to be one of his most groundbreaking albums yet.

For Santana, the inspiration for Africa Speaks holds a special significance. “This is music that I hold so dearly, and it’s not a stranger to me,” he says. “The rhythms, grooves and melodies from Africa have always inspired me. It’s in my DNA. If you take your inspiration from many, it’s called research. I researched this beautiful music from the African continent. They have a frequency that’s all their own. It’s funny, because when I play in Africa, people say, ‘How do you know our music?’ And I say, ‘How can I not know what I love?’”

To fully realize the breadth of the music on Africa Speaks, Santana knew that he needed to work with another outside-the-box thinker, and he enlisted iconoclastic producer Rick Rubin. “Before I even shook hands with Rick, I said, ‘This is going to blow his mind,’” Santana recalls. “I knew he’d never done anything like this.” When Rubin listened to the demos, his reaction was immediate and effusive. “He called me and said, ‘These songs are like gateways to people’s consciousness,’” Santana says.

Watch the first video “Breaking Down The Door” from this highly anticipated album.

The master guitarist and his eight-piece band (which also includes Santana’s wife, Cindy Blackman Santana, on drums), convened at Rubin’s Shangri La Studios in Malibu, and in a joyous and stimulating 10-day period they recorded an astonishing number of tracks, many of them in one take. “I’m not bragging or boasting,” Santana says, “but we recorded 49 songs in 10 days – killer, vibrant, dynamic, exuberant African songs that moved and inspired me. If Miles Davis or John Coltrane were in the room and they watched this music go down, they would be like, ‘Damn! How did you do that?’”

On working with Rubin, Santana raves, “He was very gentle and unobtrusive. His spirit was never an imposition. He trusted the process and how I wanted people to dance and feel in a way that’s totally different.”

Another dramatic element in the creation of Africa Speaks came in the form of Spanish singer Buika, whose heavenly lead vocals cast a magical spell throughout the album. “People are going to be blown away when they hear her,” says Santana. “She’s got Nina Simone, Etta James, Tina Turner, Aretha and more rolled into one.” The guitarist was so taken with the Latin Grammy Award winner that he asked her to write lyrics to his new compositions. Santana recalls, “Buika told me, ‘I wrote lyrics and melodies I’ve never done before. I was crying and laughing. The music possessed me to create something outside of the realm that I know.’ I said, ‘Yeah! If that’s what it does to you, imagine what it’ll do to the listener.’”

Africa Speaks is a beautifully sustained, blissful experience that opens with the fully immersive title cut, a righteous celebration that features Santana’s savage, yet shimmering guitar lines engaged in a joyful dance with congas, piano and a rousing choir of vocals.

Distilling the 49 dazzling tracks that the band recorded in an unbroken, breathless 10-day period into an 11-cut album was no mean feat, but Santana, now 50 years into his remarkable career, succeeded in creating Africa Speaks as a compelling and uplifting vision that will rank as one of his most important and memorable works.

Pre-order Africa Speaks here.

Africa Speaks track listing:

  1. Africa Speaks (4:47)
  2. Batonga (5:43)
  3. Oye Este Mi Canto (5:58)
  4. Yo Me Lo Merezco (6:12)
  5. Blue Skies (9:08)
  6. Paraísos Quemados (5:59)
  7. Breaking Down The Door (4:30)
  8. Los Invisibles (5:54)
  9. Luna Hechicera (4:47)
  10. Bembele (5:51)
  11. Candombe Cumbele (5:36)

Santana on the web: 

Official Site: