On March 18th, the human rights advocate – and internationally acclaimed musician – Carlos Santana recieved the 2010 Mayor’s Art Award from San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. Over 300 attended the regal Green Room of the War Memorial Opera House.
The famed musician moved from Los Angeles up to San Francisco in 1961, where his father got involved with a mariachi band. Carlos graduated from Mission High School in 1965, and made his debut with The Santana Band at the Fillmore West theater on June 16, 1968. The following year saw their international success – via the stage of Woodstock ’69 – and the release of their self-titled debut album, which included the top 10 Billboard hit “Evil Ways.”
“Carlos is one of the greatest artists of our time and any time,” said Mayor Newsome during the two-hour long ceremony, “He is an international superstar who keeps his heart in San Francisco and has humanity of a social worker.” Santana embraced his flowery San Franciscan roots, claiming that he’ll always be a rainbow warrior – or hippie – at heart. He warned against the destructiveness of the ego, and closed his acceptance speech with a frank metaphor:
“Music is the water, people are the flowers and I’m a hose.”
Wise words from a wise guitarist who helped feed the flaming live performance of “Soul Sacrifice,” that fateful day at Woodstock al those years ago.