Arts & Entertainment, Music

A Global Music Rolodex

Carlos Santana

Lesson time 8:46 min

Carlos challenges you to think beyond the Western notion of classical music and explore some of his favorite musical influences from around the world.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Redefine Classical Music • The Future of Music Is in Africa • Ancient Hypnotic Rhythms • European Elegance • Melodic Jazz Drummers


Classical music is called classic because it's good forever. But it's not just white music from Europe. Coltrane is classical. Billie Holliday is classical. Marvin Gaye is classical. So I have a new suggestion for classical radio stations, radio and TV. Play everything from America that's classical as well, not just Beethoven or Mozart or whatever. Play some Miles and Coltrane, Billie Holiday. Classical is good forever. Miles Davis and everyone, Coltrane, they all check out. All the great masters. Stravinsky and everybody. So include that in your vocabulary and your Rolodex and portfolio. Include classical music from Europe and classical music from America. I say it with total clarity, the future of music in this planet is from Africa. Everything else is regurgitated and the candy is gone, you know? But with African music, it's always so delicious, nutritious, intoxicating. It makes you feel like you got more money than anyone in this planet, you know? When I see sisters and brothers dancing in Africa, something happens to them. All of a sudden, they're in total, absolute ecstasy. And that's all I wanted. I want to be in ecstasy, so I learned from as many as possible. Touré Kunda, Baaba Maal, Salif Keita, Angélique Kidjo, all of them. I can tell you all of them. And they know that I know their music because it's my music. I love it like my next breath in my lungs. The call and answer was invented over there. The ultimate call and answer, which is like real music, Bob Marley. It's important, imperative, to have call and answer in music because it makes the listener become part of the musician. When I play certain music and I try to turn my other friends onto this-- won't go into names-- and they say, but if I play it like that, I'm gonna sound like Santana. And I go, no, it's not Santana, it's African music. This lady when I was in Ghana in 1971, she taught me something really valuable. You got to visit the "wah," you know? If there's no "wah," it ain't happening. I was like, oh. And when you combine this music, which is the pulse beat of like Americans going-- They always put the "ho." And the "ho" is the same thing as the "wah" in Africa. Music, for it to be hypnotic, to be uplifting, and to be welcomed into your heart, it has to have the "wah" or the "ho" in it. It elevates you into a place where you don't feel how old you are or the weight of your bones. The band's music takes you away from time and gravity. That's what we need to understand. How did the first people started with drums and a flute and a bone, you know, and why were they playing? They were playing to celebrate that they got good food or they got married or something. Music is always a celebration, and it always should be a celebration. Gitanos, Paco de Lucía, all of them, they all have a certain walk. The females and the males, they walk like-- [BREATHES DEEPLY] ...

About the Instructor

With 10 Grammys and almost 50 years on stage, Carlos Santana teaches you how to play guitar in his spiritual style. Learn how he weaves emotion, artistic expression, and musical genres from across the world to create a sound that transcends classifications and connects with audiences. Join Carlos in his studio as he breaks down his process note by note—so you can discover the soul of your sound.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Carlos Santana

Carlos Santana teaches you how he creates a distinct, soulful guitar sound that moves the hearts of audiences.

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