Carlos Santana Unpacks Groundbreaking “Black Magic Woman” Sound


Carlos Santana and members of his original band reunited for a new album Santana IV and a few tour stops, proving that their spiritual rekindling would be more than just a throwback goodie. The legendary guitarist and drummer Michael Shrieve revisit “Black Magic Woman” with Alt.Latino’s Felix Contreras to unpack a cultural mashup that established its makers as musical pioneers.

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“I was getting more and more fascinated with how to cross pollinate B.B. King with Tito Puente,” said Santana on crafting a sound that weaved Afro-Caribbean rhythms and rock.

Shrieve, who helped sew this fabric of hugely popular music, wanted nothing more than to witness the magic. “I just tried to stay out of the way, to tell you the truth, with all the rhythm that was going on,” he said. “Rather than try to be something that I wasn’t, I tried to be supportive … and make the rhythm more like a tapestry.”

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Albeit Santana’s “Black Magic Woman” is a cover of a Fleetwood Mac song (1968), the Latin rendition was so wildly infectious — “drove women crazy” — it became a Santana signature song and part of his set list almost consistently for over 45 years.

Kick back, plug in and hear the full conversation, here.