Kennedy Center Honors Carlos Santana

I take pride as a Santana fan about the relevance of Carlos Santana’s being selected  to receive 2013 Kennedy Center Honors.

“From his legendary performance at Woodstock to his sweep at the 2000 Grammys and beyond, Carlos Santana’s artistry transcends genres while entertaining millions.”

Carlos Santana (Maryanne Bilham)

I find it spiritual karma that close friend of Carlos Santana’s Herbie Hancock was also selected to be honored on the same evening December 8th. The Kennedy Center Honors offers patrons of the arts a rare view of the honoree witnessing the adulation of their music friends  performing the awardees music.

Last year’s broadcast featured Heart, Jason Bonham and a full choir performing for Led Zeppelin a mesmerizing live music tribute of “Stairway To Heaven”.

I wonder what music artists and songs will be performed on December 8th to honor Carlos Santana?

The Honors Gala will be recorded for broadcast on the CBS Television Network for the 36th consecutive year as a two-hour primetime special on Sunday, December 29 at 9:00 p.m. (ET/PT).

Other honorees joining Carlos Santana and Herbie Hancock on this special evening include opera singer Martina Arroyo; pianist, singer and songwriter Billy Joel; and actress Shirley MacLaine.

Carlos Santana said he was delighted to be part of this party and that, for him, music is “a calling.”

“I guess people understand that Santana is not just a Mexican guitar player – I bring a collective-consciousness awareness agenda with me,” said Santana, who moved to San Francisco from Mexico with his family when he was six. “I grew up with the generation of Woodstock and Bob Marley, ‘One Love,’ and ‘Imagine,’ John Lennon. I am one of them, and we don’t do what we do to be commercial or to be popular or to be cute. It’s not entertainment or show business for us. For us, it’s a calling.”

He said his musical life has been about bridging cultures, drawing on sounds of Africa, Latin America and American Indians, as well as rock, jazz and the blues to create something new.

Last year, the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts complained the Kennedy Center had long excluded Latinos from the honors. Of the more than 180 past honorees, only two had been Hispanic — Placido Domingo, the acclaimed Spanish tenor, and Chita Rivera, the actress and singer of Puerto Rican descent — the group said.

The criticism has thankfully led to a revised selection process this year, including the solicitation of nominations from the public, and a new committee of artists and officials to help narrow the potential honorees. Santana has been a contender in recent years for his strong credentials, said show producer George Stevens Jr.

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