Photo by Marylene Eytier
This morning, rock and roll icon Carlos Santana released a new version of his cover of Tito Puente’s “Oye Como Va” showcasing over 20 musicians from around the world. The song was presented by Playing for Change and produced by the organization’s Mark Johnson as part of their Peace Through Music event – which is in partnership with the United Nations campaign to support the rights of Afro-descendants and social justice.
Santana was joined on the track by his wife Cindy Blackman Santana, Tal Wilkenfeld from Venice Beach, Calif., Tito Puente Jr. from Miami, Fla., the Al Harban Brothers from the Kingdom of Bahrain, Luis Carlos Cassiani Simarra from Palenque, Columbia, Cory Henry from Los Angeles, Chouloute Minouche from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, André Siqueira from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and more.
“This song is so full of positive energy and soul that it makes people feel joy and that’s one of the best things music can do to change the world,” Johnson said. “When we feel the love we have more to give and a deeper connection to our shared humanity. The time is now to unite as a human race and music is the best tool we have to make that happen.”
Puente wrote “Oye Como Va” in 1963 for his album El Rey Bravo. “The tune was written and composed by him and he wanted a nice cha cha cha that is danceable and easy to sing,” his son Tito Puente Jr. said. “‘Oye Como Va’ has endured the test of time and continues to bring people together to dance and sing together, around the world.”
Many attribute the song to Santana when his 1970 cover of the track on his LP Abraxas became the band’s first album to reach number one in the United States. The song has also remained a key song for his live performances for the last 50 years. Gold standard, iconic songs that Playing for Change videos have centers include The Band’s “The Weight,” the Rolling Stones, “Gimme Shelter,” and
Santana brought the song to a new audience in 1970 when he covered on it his LP Abraxas. It was a hit all across the world and has been a key part of his live repertoire over the past half-century. Past Playing for Change videos have centered around other classic tunes from that era like “The Weight,” “Gimme Shelter,” and Led Zepplin’s “When The Levee Breaks.”
“All our past Playing for Change recordings and videos shape our new songs around the world because we are always meeting new musicians and learning new ways to connect the world through music,” continued Johnson. “One thing we’ve learned making these Playing for Change songs around the world is that no matter how many things in this life divide us, they will never be as strong as the power of music to bring us together. One heart and one song at a time.”
Watch the video for the recording of “Oye Como Va” below:
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