Africa Speaks

Africa Speaks

It’s a little limiting to frame Africa Speaks as a Santana tribute to the music of Africa—at least, it’s no more useful than calling his groundbreaking ’70s albums tributes to the music of the Americas. Conceptual marketing aside, Africa Speaks is some of the most vital music he’s made in years, not to mention a graceful cap on a decade-long pivot away from his crossover 2000s work toward the kind of jammy, intensely felt fusion on which he not only built a reputation but forged a legacy. The songs cohere (the hip-hop-ish cumbia of “Breaking Down the Door,” the rolling polyrhythms of “Oye Este Mi Canto”), the jams accrue enough momentum to take you way out—or deep in, as it were—in about five minutes or less (“Bembele,” “Batonga”). And as expressive as Santana’s guitar work is, he finds his match in the Spanish singer Concha Buika, whose voice is powerful as a jackhammer and pliable as a blade of grass.

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Africa, Middle East, and India

Asia Pacific


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