Santana “Africa Speaks”

“Deep in the jungle, beyond the reach of greed
You hear the voices of spirits
With their frequency of light
Making sounds like the crackling of stars at night
Communicating with plants, animals and mankind
Affirming the universal truth
All and everything was conceived here in Africa
The cradle of civilization.”
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The spoken words by Carlos Santana himself on the first track Africa Speaks feeds the basis of the whole album for an African theme yet it still has a Latino sound throughout the eleven tracks. While the vocals by Spanish singer Concha Buika strike the right chords for an African vibe it still feels like a Santana record with all the traditional guitar licks and percussion sounds.

Each song has that fine balance of the Santana guitar and an African rhythm. The urgency of Oye Este Mi Canto encultures 70s psychedelic guitar sounds blended perfectly with Buika’s piercing tribal vocals while Yo Me Lo Merezco gives off a more soulful tone with that 70s hippie sound.

Blue Skies shows off a jazzy blues vibe with soft bongo beats before breaking out mid song with a wicked guitar solo then coming back down to a slow cool strum. Paraisos Quemondos is funk and jive while Breaking Down the Door is more Parisian jazz.

Los Invisibles mixes funky basslines with strong vocals by Buika and funky wah wah guitar licks. Luna Hechicera, Bembele and Candombe Cumbele get back to an African beat with more percussion.

Africa Speaks has a mix of African, Latino and Jazzy beats with traditional Santana guitar jams and a certain live feel when you listen to it. While some might not connect with the African tone of this album there is enough of Santana to make it a great album.

Album Review By Anastasia Lambis