In Search of Mona Lisa
Carlos Santana is a musical icon who has performed for three generations of listeners. To date he has sold 100 million records and won ten Grammy Awards. Among his other awards are being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; receiving the Billboard Latin Music Awards’ Lifetime Achievement honor, and being a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors Award. Rolling Stone magazine lists Santana as #15 on their list of the “Greatest Guitarists of All Time”.
This year also marks the twentieth anniversary of his Grammy winning album “Supernatural” and the 50th anniversary since his groundbreaking performance at Woodstock. Concord Records proudly announces their signing of the legendary Santana with the immediate release of this new EP “In Search of Mona Lisa”. A full length album produced by Rick Rubin is scheduled to be released in the summer of 2019.
Santana talks about this recording. “We had a day off in Paris, after performing a spectacular concert at Bercy Arena the evening before. My wife, Cindy, my Sisters Maria and Lety, and my Manager, Michael asked me, what are you doing today, on your day off?” …They suggested we go to the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa…when we arrived, there was an incredible line to see her. It was as if people were lining up to get front row tickets to see their favorite performer. When…I stood in front of her, I heard her voice say “Hi!”…”Do you remember me? When we were lovers in another time?” Months later, Santana awoke from a dream, and the lyrics to both “Do You Remember Me?” and “In Search of Mona Lisa” came to him.
“Do You Remember Me?” opens with a lyrical guitar solo that is so beautiful it had to be inspired by Mona Lisa’s eyes. The instrumental passage morphs into a Latin groove. Santana’s guitar lead is augmented by Benny Rietveld’s bass; Cindy Blackman Santana’s drums; percussionist Karl Perazzo; keyboardist David K. Mathews; Tommy Anthony, rhythm guitar; and vocalists Andy Vargas and Ray Greene. The song, sung in Spanish, was recorded at Rubin’s Shangri-la Studio in Malibu, California. Santana recalls that his experience at the Louvre might not have happened “I had to be who I am now, knowing that God is everywhere and that He was saying “I love you, by sending me this message of inspiration and visualization”.
When Santana showed the “In Search of Mona Lisa” lyrics to Narada Michael Walden, his Grammy winning producer, Walden suggested a Bo Diddley type beat. With the ex-Mahavishu Orchestra drummer Walden sitting in, and the addition of rhythm guitarist Jim Reitzel and vocalist Cornell “CC’ Carter, this track is another inspired performance.
Then Santana’s wife Cindy suggested something more symphonic by bringing in bassist Ron Carter. “Lovers From Another Time”, “unfolds much like the painting that inspired the music itself, with the dual drumming of Cindy and Walden mixing with Carter’s elegant basslines to create a living and breathing canvas on which Santana splashes vibrant six-string colors and textures”.
The EP includes two more tracks that are shorter edited versions more suitable for radio. Concord Records states “Santana is an artist of singular voice. Immediately recognized for his signature sound and celebrated as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, his gift for melody and ability to seamlessly fuse and transcend musical genres has inspired us all”. It is with great anticipation that we await the new full-length release.