Maybe this is not what you expect on the MASA book blog, but I take creative license in that we do not only read professional work, but we also read works that have a story line from which we can gain further insights into ourselves and others. Yes, ever since Black Magic Woman was the background music for a memorable lunch on the Greek island of Santorini, I have been been haunted by it and other works of Santana. He recently put out his rock memoir The Universal Tone: Bringing My Story to Light, and I listened to the book on audio CD's while driving around northern Minnesota.
The 535 page autobiography is compelling in a number of different ways. The life story alone is captivating with the family moves that follow an itinerant musician/father eventually settling in San Francisco, yet going solo at times when we would never consider allowing a child of ours to cross the street by himself. The fascination of R&B, rock, conga, and jazz as they mix and merge into music that has the "power to rearrange molecular structures." His open and honest need to express his being sexually molested as a boy during the promotion of the exceptional album "Supernatural." His continued confusion as to what happened that had his wife of 36 years leave him. His somewhat similar spiritual paths of others including the study of the Urantia book, his meditation routines with Sri Chinmoy, and his more current theology based on the book A Course in Miracles.
But perhaps what I found most appealing was the near perfectly established sensory details and narrative asides that make each scene come alive with music and purpose. He intertwines his tale with personalities who are larger than life without realizing that he is considered larger than life. His awe of others with recognized major talent puts himself at a humble, but solid place of "knowing what is needed and giving others the space to insert their best into each performance."
When Santana the band became more than just a band to Carlos, he realized that as long as it was his name on the band, he had a responsibility to make sure the players and the music were exactly what he would want his name associated. At that point, like any other leader today or tomorrow, he would call the shots as he saw them to work the best for the sound and the listener. Today and tomorrow, we are responsible for calling the shots that work the best for our students and our communities. There is an analogy often used showing the conductor of the symphony as a metaphor for the leader of a school.
Santana has certainly had incredible experiences and some paths very different from many of us. However, the spirit that comes through his life and his music help to make a sound that is unique, yet creates a universal tone. Is that like the drop of water that an individual might be, yet still remains a part of the ocean?
May I recommend that you find someone you want to find out more about and share what you learn with us here at MASA. We look forward to referrals too.