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Interview: Salvador Santana Puts Hip-Hop in the Latin Rock Mix, Plays Avalon

In Music
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“Obviously, people are going to make assumptions based on who my father is,” says Salvador Santana. To put it another way, they’re not expecting the son of Latin-rock superstar Carlos Santana to be collaborating with Del the Funky Homosapien, GZA from Wu-Tang Clan, or Mellow Man Ace, younger brother of Cypress Hill’s Sen Dog.

But that’s because they don’t know how hip-hop shaped Salvador Santana’s world.

“I was a high school kid bumping Wu-Tang. I grew up listening to Cypress Hill,” says Santana.

Those are the influences that shaped his own music, a party-ready mix of rock grooves, rap beats and electro overlay. The 28-year-old Santana—who plays Friday’s “Last Days of Avalon” show with El Chicano, saluting the Santa Clara club as it plans to close its doors June 30—has definitely found his own way.

“My father wanted me to learn drums at a very young age. I started playing at 2 or 3,” he says. “You have to have what we call ‘pocket’—a sense of rhythm, a sense of tempo.”

Around five or six he was encouraged to pick up a guitar, but he naturally gravitated to piano.

“The piano just made sense to me. It’s like an orchestra at my fingertips,” he says.

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