The Santana Connection

Guitar legend Carlos Santana played an interesting role in the formation and history of Music Aid. At the week long Rock in Rio 2 event in Rio de Janeiro, Music Aid founder Alan Hardman and Carlos Santana discovered that they were both interested in starting music organizations. They shared ideas and plans during the week long event while backstage at the Maracanã Stadium and at the Copacabana Palace Hotel. When they returned to their own countries Carlos formed the Milagro Foundation in California and Alan launched Music Aid in London. Coincidentally, both were launched in 1998 – read more about the Music Aid launch on the About Page on this website. Alan has said “Those chats were a big help as they really crystallized the idea of Music Aid for me, and the direction it would take. So, thank you Carlos”.

Santana has sold more than 100 million records and reached more than 100 million fans at concerts worldwide. To date, Santana has won 10 GRAMMY® Awards, including a record-tying nine for a single project, 1999’s Supernatural (including Album of the Year and Record of the Year for “Smooth”) as well as three Latin GRAMMY’s. In 1998, the Santana group was ushered into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame whose website notes, “Guitarist Carlos Santana is one of rock’s true virtuosos and guiding lights.”

Among many other honors, Carlos Santana received the Billboard Latin Music Awards’ Lifetime Achievement Award and Billboard’s Century Award. On December 8, 2013 he was the recipient of the 2013 Kennedy Center Honors Award. Rolling Stone named Carlos #15 on the magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” saying that “Santana’s crystalline tone and clean arcing sustain make him the rare instrumentalist who can be identified in just one note.” And, with the 2014 release of Corazón, Santana is one of only two music acts in Billboard history to score at least one Top Ten album for six consecutive decades from the 1960s on. The other act is the Rolling Stones, and Music Aid is proud that both these acts were involved in its launch (Ronnie Wood from the Stones donated his art work to the Music Aid launch event).

Santana’s performing and recording career is complemented by a lifelong devotion to social activism and humanitarian causes. The Milagro Foundation, originally established by Carlos Santana and his family in 1998, has granted more than seven million dollars to non-profit programs supporting underserved children and youth in the areas of arts, education and health. Milagro means “miracle,” and the image of children as “divine miracles of light and hope” is the inspiration behind its name.

Visit the Milagro Foundation here. Visit the official Santana website at

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