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Second Cup Café: Salvador Santana Band

Not every 21-year-old fresh out of college would jump for joy at the prospect of a summer job working for his father — unless, of course, the young man in question has his own band and his dad is Carlos Santana.

That's exactly what keyboardist Salvador Santana did in the summer of 2004, shortly after forming his band, which worked as the opening act for his father's summer tour of Europe.

In honor of Father's Day, the Salvador Santana Band visits Second Cup Café with Carlos Santana as their very special guest.

In addition to touring with his father, Salvador Santana has brought his band's blend of hip-hop, jazz, rock, Latin and world music on the road with Ozomatli and Los Lonely Boys and into the studio for a five-track self-titled EP.

More recently Salvador contributed an updated, funky version of his father's classic "Evil Ways" to the January release of the Target Spotlight Series album "Songs For My Father" featuring the offspring of music legends with names like Croce, Allman and Marley.

2Salvador Santana's artistic lineage descends from both sides of his family. His maternal grandfather was African-American blues pioneer, tenor and guitar legend Saunders King, and his paternal grandfather is celebrated violinist and mariachi bandleader Jose Santana. His mother, Deborah, is an author whom Salvador credits with influencing his love of writing poetry.

With a father who's one of the world's best-known guitarists, a 10-time Grammy winner and a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, it seems logical that Salvador might pick up the same instrument. But although he dabbled with the guitar as a youngster, he quickly found his passion in keyboards and piano.

Born and raised in Northern California, Salvador studied at San Francisco's High School of the Arts, and went on to major in music at Cal Arts in Valencia. At Cal Arts he had an opportunity to broaden his skills in world music by studying Javanese gavelan and African percussion.

Salvador and Carlos Santana collaborated on the Grammy-winning track "El Farol" from Santana's 1999 album "Supernatural," and on "Open Up Your Eyes," a song for the 2005 compilation "Food For Thought," a CD benefitting Deborah and Carlos Santana's Milagro Foundation.

Currently, Salvador and his band are completing what will be their first full-length album, set for release later this year. Salvador has been co-writing with Andy Vargas and Asdru Sierra of Ozomatli, and is co-producing the project with producer, mixer and former Cypress Hill and House Of Pain collaborator Jason Roberts.
By Judy Faber