Pre-dating the category now known as "world music," Santana's ever-evolving sound has always been ahead of its time in its universal appeal, and today registers as ideally in sync with the 21st century's pan-cultural landscape. And, with a dedication to humanitarian outreach and social activism that parallels his lifelong relationship with music, Carlos Santana is as much an exemplary world citizen as a global music icon.
After first rising to fame as stars of the era-defining late '60s San Francisco Bay area music scene with historic shows at the Fillmore and other venues, Santana emerged onto the global stage with an epic set at Woodstock '69, the same year that their self-titled debut LP came out. Introducing Santana's first hit, "Evil Ways," the disc stayed on Billboard's album chart for 2 years, and was soon followed by two more classics - and Billboard #1s - Abraxas and Santana III.
Forty years and as many albums later, Santana has sold more than 90 million records and reached over 100 million fans at concerts worldwide. To date, Santana has won ten GRAMMY® Awards, including a record-tying nine for a single project, 1999's Supernatural (including Album of the Year and Record of the Year for "Smooth"). In 1998, the group was ushered into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, whose web page on their induction notes, "Guitarist Carlos Santana is one of rock's true virtuosos and guiding lights." Among many other honors, Carlos Santana has also been cited by Rolling Stone as #15 on their list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time," and #90 on their 2005 survey of the "100 Greatest Artists Of All Time."
Most recently, the music of Santana has been celebrated with two landmark album releases. 2008's 2-CD set Multi-Dimensional Warrior (Columbia/Arista/Legacy) is a career-spanning anthology presenting twenty-eight tracks hand-picked by Carlos Santana, who calls the project, "a love letter to the fans." Divided between tracks with vocals and instrumental compositions, it emphasizes album cuts and personal favorites that call forth the band's hypnotic musical power and give deeper insight into Santana's complex creative journey. It follows up 2007's Ultimate Santana, the only single-disc retrospective uniting hits from the group's recent albums for Arista and signature classics from their Columbia years, as well as the new 2008 chart hit "Into The Night."
As profound as his artistic legacy is Carlos' dedication to humanitarian work. The Milagro Foundation, established in 1998, has granted close to $4 million globally to non-profit programs supporting underserved children and youth in the areas of arts, education and health. Milagro means "miracle," and the image of children as divine miracles of light and hope - as gifts to our lives - is the meaning of the name.