Cindy Blackman Santana Talks Her New CD and Life With Carlos

Written by Randy Patterson

Posted February 2019

Cindy Blackman Credit Rob Shanahan croppedPhoto by Rob ShanahanThey say that behind every great man is a great woman. This is literally the case with Carlos Santana in the person of his wife of eight years, Cindy Blackman-Santana. Cindy is one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s touring and studio drummers.

Astute music fans will know Cindy as a phenomenal musician who stands quite well on her own. Having cut her musical teeth on hard-core jazz, she has played with a long list of jazz artists including Sam Rivers, Angela Bofill, Sonny Simmons. 

She’s also quite the rock drummer, first hitting it big as Lenny Kravitz’s drummer and performing on his huge 1993 hit, “Are You Gonna Go My Way”. She’s pretty much played with him ever since.

Her work as a rock drummer invaded her personal life when, in December 2010, she married Carlos Santana. The marriage is rocking along beautifully both personally and musically. 

Hearing that she was going to have an album coming out later this year as well as a new CD with Carlos, I thought it would a great time to chat with her (something I’ve sought to do for three years). 

While preparing for our chat, I learned that she is friends Boomerocity photographic contributor (and personal photographer for Ringo Starr and the go-to shutter bug for DW Drums and Gretsch Drums), Rob Shanahan. 

He had this to say about Cindy: “Cindy is a total class act and incredible drummer. I enjoyed photographing her for the Gretsch Drums campaign, and incredibly grateful to have created such an iconic image of her.” Of which she said, “He’s awesome!”

At the beginning of my chat with Cindy, I congratulated her on her recent wedding anniversary and asked her if it has been anything at all like she envisioned it eight years ago.

“Um, no, it’s not. Ha! Ha! No, it’s not in some ways and in other ways it’s gloriously like I envisioned it. I really like monogamy because I love growing with a person. I’ve always been that way my whole life. I like that. I like seeing the growthEverythingKnoxvilleLogoEdited of a person; doing things together; growing with somebody. We certainly done a lot of that. It’s a beautiful thing because we still have our freshness. We still have playfulness and we still have fun. I see some people who are together for a lot less time and sometimes they don’t stay together. Sometimes, things wear out. We still have all of those things so I’m very happy with that.”

I shifted the conversation to the new CDs coming out and asked her to tell me about them.

“Absolutely! I’ll start, first, with Carlos’ and then end up with mine. 

“He’s got a great CD coming out called “Africa Speaks” and it’s with the

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