Album Review: Africa Speaks by Santana

January 2019 saw the debut of a 3 song e.p. titled In Search Of Mona Lisa” . This record was the introduction to”Africa Speaks”, Santana’s 25th album.
1.“Do You Remember Me”Carlos Santana9:50
2.“In Search of Mona Lisa”Jeffrey Cohen / Santana / Narada Michael Walden5:11
3.“Lovers From Another Time”Santana / Consuelo Velázquez / Walden

Performing concerts in France for decades he never went to the Louvre museum. His wife and drummer, Cindy Blackman Santana explained he must visit. Carlos Santana found divine inspiration .

Tourists from all over the world come to see Mona Lisa. Most of them view her through their smart phones. Carlos Santana gazed upon her with his own eyes. As a result of this moment came ancestral memory, dreams, and musical passages.

“Melody is the bridge between the celestial and the physical”—-Carlos Santana

During interviews for both the e.p. and full-length records he explained that the Mona Lisa asked ‘Do You Remember Me’. He thought a lot about what this meant to him.

This work of art conjured up many images for him. Over the following months his dreams formed a template for this album.

As a result we receive a 3 track gem called “In Search Of Mona Lisa”. This ep was followed by the full length studio album, “Africa Speaks”.

All the magic of those jams recorded in the 1970’s return on Santana’s new record.

My listening has become enriched with the sounds of “Africa Speaks”. Never before has a record captured my attention in this way.

The mix of Latin Rock, propulsive World Beats, and African rhythms with intoxicating vocals by Spanish singer, Buika, add up to an experience of pure joy.

The album’s cover art displays an African mask with swirls of colors that represent the import of the sounds within its gatefold sleeve.

This mask is worn in ceremony. To communicate with ancestors long gone. Like the Mona Lisa preamble it asks the listener to remember forgotten roots.

I realized for the first time why music remains so present in my life. You can experience so much over years of listening. Artists who have reached so many still elude some.

While new music is important I discovered that old music is always waiting for first time listeners. Santana is new music for me.

His early hits ‘Black Magic Woman’ and ‘Oye Como Va’ (a cover of Tito Puente’s classic) were all I knew before listening back to every song on his first 6 records.

His eponymous debut in 1969 fused Latin music with jazz, rock, and funk to produce indescribably deep grooves that jam. His ‘Soul Sacrifice’ proved to be the spell that once cast kept me in his artistic orbit.

This new record has such an amazing way of drawing in its listener. Slowly the drums begin then rhythm kicks in with intense tonal verocity that never lets up.

A rich musical journey that begins in Africa where civilization began. The sounds vibrate out sending waves across the world to wash over the fortunate listener to feel whole.

Release Date: 06/07/2019


  • 1Africa Speaks
  • 2Batonga
  • 3Oye Este Mi Canto
  • 4Yo Me Lo Merezco
  • 5Blue Skies
  • 6Paraisos Quemados
  • 7Breaking Down The Door
  • 8Los Invisibles
  • 9Luna Hechicera
  • 10Bembele
  • 11Candombe Cumbele

“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”
Carlos Santana

This invocation is spoken by Santana at the top of this record. You the listener are invited to feel the warmth of a place forgotten, lost to migration of peoples, and re-discover its beauty, magic, and genuine human connection.

Produced by Rick Rubin (Metallica) the 11 track album was the result of sessions at Shangra La Studios in Malibu, CA and his Tarpan Studios in San Rafael, CA that created 49 songs.

Carlos Santana & Buika
A remarkable collaboration bringing the sounds of Africa to life.

Buika is a singer, poet, composer and music producer. Her music draws on a wide range of influences, from jazz and flamenco to pop, soul and African polyrhythm. She began her career as a drummer and bassist, turning to singing only because “in Spain nobody wanted a female drummer, and I got tired of hearing no, no, no.”

Her vocals are mesmerizing. Contributing writing to every song on this record, the languages of Africa are well represented too. Do not be intimidated if you have never listened to this music. Its beauty will envelop you; its melody provides a warmth that won’t let go.

Carlos Santana is one of the last remaining active rock stars of the Woodstock Era. His performance at the legendary festival in 1969 is rightfully considered one of the greatest sets of all time.

August 30, 2019 marks the 50th Anniversary of his recording career debut! ‘Santana’, ‘Abraxas’, and his top selling ‘Supernatural’ have been reissued on vinyl, CD, and are streaming too.

I hope this record brings you all the joy it has brought me.

Thanks for visiting Evan’s Gate!

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