When Mexican-American music legend Carlos Santana picks up a guitar to play, magic happens. When he picks up a pen to write, well it turns out that magic also unfolds. He’s mastered his musical notes and now his storytelling.
The 68-year-old music icon and 10-time Grammy winner’s memoir, “The Universal Tone: Bringing My Story to Light,” (Little, Brown and Company) has been selected as a 2015 American Book Award winner.
This marks the first book by the 2013 Kennedy Center Honoree, and may not be the last chapter in him taking on the role as co-author.
Santana teamed up with co-writers Hal Miller and 2015 Best Album Liner Notes Grammy Award-winner Ashley Kahn to pen “The Universal Tone,” according to reports.
The 36th annual American Book Awards celebrate diversity in publishing and honored several recipients this year, including: Naomi Klein, Marlon James and poet Anne Waldman, who was honored for lifetime achievement. The awards ceremony will be held Oct. 20 in New York.
“Carlos Santana’s unforgettable memoir offers a page-turning tale of musical self-determination and inner self-discovery, with personal stories filled with colorful detail and life-affirming lessons,” according to Hachette Book Group.
“‘The Universal Tone’ traces his journey from his earliest days playing the strip bars in Tijuana while barely in his teens and brings to light the establishment of his signature guitar sound; his roles as husband, father, recording legend, and rock guitar star; his indebtedness to musical and spiritual influences — from John Coltrane and John Lee Hooker to Miles Davis and Harry Belafonte; and his deep, lifelong dedication to a spiritual path that he developed from his Catholic upbringing, Eastern philosophies, and other mystical sources.”
Santana is most known for his greatest hits “Oye Como Va,” “Black Magic Woman” and “Samba Pa Ti.” He has collaborated with many world-renowned artists, such as Tito Puente, Fleetwood Mac, Willie Nelson, Rob Thomas and Maná, among others.
In 2013, Santana was honored as one of the Kennedy Center Honorees, which is considered “the nation’s highest honor for influencing American culture through the arts.”
During the Kennedy Center Honors ceremony, President Obama recalled a 22-year-old Santana and his band’s performance at Woodstock (in 1969) that rocked the audience with “a mind-blowing mix of blues, jazz, R&B and Latin music. They had never seen anything like it — and almost overnight Carlos Santana became a star.”
“He (Santana) developed a distinctive sound that has drawn admirers from Bob Dylan to Herbie Hancock — and he gave voice to a Latino community that had too often been invisible to too many Americans,” he added.
Santana joined Kennedy Center Honorees including Puerto Rican opera singer Martina Arroyo, Billy Joel, pianist Herbie Hancock and actress Shirley MacLaine.
The 1998 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee is currently on a European concert tour with the band that bears his name, which he has led for nearly 50 years, the San Diego Union-Tribune added. His North American tour opens Aug. 16 in Pennsylvania and concludes Aug. 30 in Illinois. Santana’s ongoing annual residency at House of Blues in Las Vegas resumes on Sept. 16.
Check out the full list of 2015 American Book Award Winners:
Hisham Aidi, “Rebel Music: Race, Empire, and the New Muslim Youth Culture” (Vintage)
Arlene Biala, “her beckoning hands” (Word Poetry)
Arthur Dong, “Forbidden City, USA: Chinese American Nightclubs, 1936-1970” (DeepFocus Productions)
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, “An Indigenous People’s History of the United States” (Beacon Press)
Peter J. Harris, “The Black Man of Happiness” (Black Man of Happiness Project)
Marlon James, “A Brief History of Seven Killings” (Riverhead Books)
Martin Kilson, “Transformation of the African American Intelligentsia, 1880-2012,” (Harvard University Press)
Naomi Klein, “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate” (Simon & Schuster)
Laila Lalami, “The Moor’s Account” (Pantheon)
Manuel Luis Martinez, “Los Duros” (Floricanto Press)
Craig Santos Perez, “from unincorporated territory [guma’]” (Omnidawn)
Carlos Santana, with Ashley Kahn and Hal Miller, “The Universal Tone: Bringing My Story to Light” (Little, Brown and Company)
Ira Sukrungruang, “Southside Buddhist” (University of Tampa Press)
Astra Taylor, “The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age” (Henry Holt)