Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A comment I wrote at

Not being able to sleep, I had a thought about this whole Estefan/Santana issue. I originally wrote it as a comment at, and seeing that it was really long I decided to edit it a little and post it here too. Clearly it goes against my fellow pundit Henry, but we're all intitled to our perspectives –and I do respect where he is coming from. I also figure it'll be good to post this here, since this is one more post towards a keg that beer I promised to get after the next 1000 posts.

Okay, I've been doing some thinking, and perhaps I let my inner capitalist get the better of me earlier.

I'm sorry, it's not about the money.

The album is named 90 Millas, and it's assuredly a tribute to the Cuban Exile. One thing that we as an exile community brought to the US was our music. And the Afro-Cuban rhythms that the we made popular in the US is what Santana used, in a hybrid with blues and jazz, to create his own unique style.

Whether we like it or not, his music and his popularity would have never have happened if it wasn't for us. I have a feeling that this is why he was called to be part of the album.

Now, talent aside, I do think the man is full of it when it comes to his ideology and the role models that he chooses to follow. The fact that he wore a che shirt is appauling. The fact that the Estefan's asked him to be on the CD raises an eyebrow. However, in the end this CD is not about politics, it's not about mr. guevara, and it is not about ideology. I'm going to take a leap and say that this CD is about a celebration of how our Cuban-American culture has impacted the hispanic music scene here in the US. And if our music has influenced this pot-smoking-dumb-ass Santana, then because he wore a che shirts and supports the assassin does not mean that we can look away at how our music influenced one of the most successful Latino rock stars in the US.

If it wasn't for our music, he probably wouldn't have made it big in the first place.

Given the Estefan track record with the Cuban-American community, our we going to take this one case and crucify them?

Did we stop to think that this is NOT about politics and more about MUSIC. Why care what Santana thinks, the fact remains his style is influenced by the rich music that Cuba has to offer. A style that he helped popularize.

Are we going to seperate this man from the album, because he's full of it? That's what he is. I don't care who he claims to support, nor do I care what he wants for Cuba. The man is full of it -period. I am willing to bet that Santana is going to do only ONE song on this album, and it's going to be HIS song based on Afro-Cuban Rhythms: "Oye Como Va." It's the only logical conclusion. And because he did this, and because this song helped popularize OUR music, are we simply going to deny him a place on a CD because he's policitially inept?

Santana is full of it, yet we can't deny how our music shaped the success of his career, and how his career help further popularize OUR music.

I feel like we're making a mountain out of a molehill.


Henry Gomez said...

I just have to really disagree. If we're good friends, I mean really good friends, and all of a sudden I start hanging out with someone you don't like (someone I know you don't like, maybe the guy that bullied you in High School) how are you going to feel? Is it a mountain or molehill? Does it wipe away all the things I've done for you as a friend? No, of course not, but it changes the dynamic of the friendship forever. You'll always question my judegment.

It's the same thing here. We stand for something. One of the things we stand for is not accepting ANY of the mythology of the Cuban Revolution. Santana obviously is big advertiser of that same mythology.

His collaboration, while not political, has to have political undertones given his very visible embracing of Che Guevara and his refusal to recant his previous words and deeds. In other words the High School bully is still unrepentant.

It is a big deal. And no, the Estefans should not be crucified. But they should be called out for making a stupid and hurtful decision.

I'll be the first one to forgive them when they admit the mistake, rather than trying to spin it this way and that.

Srcohiba said...

I will and will always like the early Santana music from Soul Sacrifice, Abraxas, etc. up through his Amigos album. I'm a guitar player and always liked his early stuff. His band produced some great musicians like Greg Rolie and Neil Schonn of Journey. I got tired of his music after he got heavy into Sri Chimnoy and then the comeback album, was too pop, just didn't do it for me. The Che thing really pissed me off and I've lost respect for him as a person. But I do respect him as a musician.

I won't buy his stuff because 1) I don't like it and 2) I don't want to give him my money. The stuff I already own, I will keep and will listen to when I feel like it.

I have a live Tito Puente album where Tito thanks Santana for putting his song "Oye como va" on the map and for helping new folks discovery Tito, who is one of the greats of afro/cuban music.

If Gloria & Co. want to collaberate with him, it's their business. If the music's on her album is good, I may buy songs off of it. Since I have itunes, I can forgo the track with santana on it unless it is such a musical magnum opus that I must have it. I doubt it will be that.

Lot's of folks get duped and Carlos is one of them. The greatest horn player and inventor of cu-bop, Dizzy Gillespe went to Havana and was duped in part by the govt. there, but I'll continue to listen to his music until the day I die, cause it's just that good. Diz also helped others escape Cuba like Paquito.

Once again shows why drugs are bad for the brain...they make you stupid and a leftist...oy vay!

Songuacassal said...

Sr Cohiba I too am greatful for itunes!

Henry, the whole ordeal has been painful. I am disgusted with the Estefans, and this whole time I've been trying to understand why they did it. I am still willing to give the benefit of the doubt until the CD comes out. After that, then we'll see what direction I take.