Carlos Santana’s work has always had a reputation for transcending boundaries. The Mexican-American guitarist is best known for his work with the successful rock band Santana and his sound can be described as a fusion of Latin, rock, salsa, blues, jazz and African beats. He gained much of his fame, fans and following during the 1960’s hippie movement with songs like Black Magic Woman, Oye Como Va and Evil Ways. The group has sold millions of records, earned numerous awards and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
But beyond the great music and commercial success lies a Survivor that each of us can identify with. And not just the guitar playing, Latino, male survivor – but all survivors – regardless of gender, race or age. Several years ago around 1996, well after the fame and fans had quieted – Santana began to face his past. With the support and encouragement of his wife – Santana worked with a therapist about his anger issues which were at the root of his problems. Santana told CBS news that he was molested by an older man who used toys as a way to get him to comply and to be quiet about the abuse. Eventually, the counseling helped him to understand the impact that the child sexual abuse he experienced had on his life. Santana reveals, “It made me realize that I was thinking wrong, like a victim”. He goes on to explain how his disclosure of the abuse transformed his life and eventually his career. “I’m free,” Santa exclaims, “by the grace of the holiest of holiest, I am free from feeling guilt, shame, judgment, condemnation. Because of that is the CD. This is the reward of myself facing my so-called demon.” What happened next in his life can only be described as supernatural. Santana released the album Supernatural which went on to earn nine Grammys and sell 25 million copies.
It looks like his willingness to do the work to heal led to his comeback, his highest selling album, a brand new start, new fans and a new life.