Carlos Santana Agrees to One-Year, $6.7 Million Contract with Pittsburgh Pirates

Carlos Santana is headed to the crow’s nest…

The 36-year-old Dominican-American professional baseball designated hitter and first baseman, nicknamed “Slamtana,” has agreed to a one-year, $6.7 million contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates, pending the results of a physical, according to ESPN.

Carlos SantanaSantana finished with a league-average OPS last year, hitting .202/.316/.376 between stints with the Seattle Mariners and Kansas City Royals. But his expected numbers, based on how hard he hit the ball (an 81st-percentile exit velocity) and his elite walk rate (97th percentile), projected far better results, something that drove his market.

Further, nobody was shifted a higher percentage last year than Santana, who saw altered defense in 356 of his 362 left-handed batting appearances. With the ban of the shift coming in 2023, the switch-hitting Santana could see a significant benefit.

After a midseason trade to the Mariners, Santana emerged quickly as a leader, something the Pirates — whose oldest position player on the 40-man roster is 31-year-old Ji-Man Choi, for whom they traded earlier this winter — desperately need.

Santana is entering his 14th season and has a career line of .242/.359/.432 with 278 home runs and 925 RBIs.

He will rejoin Pirates manager Derek Shelton, who was the big league hitting coach for Cleveland when Santana joined the organization following a trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2008.

Still a strong defensive first baseman, Santana is best known for his plate discipline and power. He has posted walk rates of greater than 13% in every big league season and hit at least 18 home runs in each of his 11 full years in the major leagues.

The Pirates, whose payroll was among the bottom five in baseball this year for the fifth consecutive season, are expected to further to add via free agency or trades this winter, a young core led by center fielder Bryan Reynolds, shortstop Oneil Cruz, and third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes. Starter Mitch Keller and closer David Bednar anticipate the arrival of catcher Henry Davis, second baseman Nick Gonzales and right-hander Quinn Priester.

Christina Aguilera to Receive Spirit of Hope Award at Billboard Latin Music Awards

It’s a spirited time for Christina Aguilera.

The 41-year-old half-Ecuadorian American actress and pop star will receive the Spirit of Hope award at the 2022 Billboard Latin Music Awards.

Christina AguileraThe special award — which was established in 1996 in honor of the late Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla — will recognize Aguilera for her philanthropic and humanitarian contributions beyond her musical work.

Aguilera will also perform during the awards show, which will take place on Thursday, September 29, at the Watsco Canter in Miami, and will be broadcast live on Telemundo beginning at 7:00 pm ET.

The Billboard Latin Music Awards — where Bad Bunny leads the list of finalists with a staggering 23 nods across 13 categories — will be simulcast on Telemundo, Universo, Peacock, the Telemundo App, and throughout Latin America and the Caribbean on Telemundo Internacional.

In addition to her musical accolades, including more than 75 million records sold worldwide, five No.1 Billboard Hot 100 hits, and a Hollywood Walk of Fame star, the artist also known as Xtina has lifted her voice to help end the cycle of domestic abuse, been a longtime supporter and ally to the LGBTQ+ community, raised awareness about HIV/AIDS research, and traveled the globe to help feed children in poverty-stricken areas.

Aguilera joins past Billboard Spirit of Hope recipients including Gloria Estefan, Emmanuel, Willy Chirino, Olga Tañon, Maná, Los Tigres del Norte, Ricky Martin, El General, Soraya, Juan Luis Guerra, Shakira, Ricardo Montaner, Juanes, Daddy Yankee, Marc Anthony, Carlos Vives, Carlos Santana, Luis Fonsi, and Maluma.

Kansas City Royals Trade Carlos Santana to Seattle Mariners

Carlos Santana is headed west…

The Kansas City Royals have traded the 36-year-old Dominican-American professional baseball designated hitter and first baseman, nicknamed “Slamtana,” and nearly $4.3 million to the Seattle Mariners for right-handers Wyatt Mills and William Fleming, clearing the way for Kansas City to bring up hot prospect Vinnie Pasquantino.

Carlos SantanaPasquantino was not in the starting lineup against the Texas Rangers on Monday night because of tight travel schedules, but Royals general manager J.J. Picollo and manager Mike Matheny expect his big bat to be in the lineup regularly.

“When I was growing up, I had a dream of playing professional baseball. But I just enjoy playing the game,” said Pasquantino, who was doing his laundry when he learned of his big league call-up. “I still do now, and I’m going to continue to try to do that as we move forward. I just love playing the game.”

The Royals optioned Mills, a 27-year-old relief pitcher, to Triple-A Omaha while designating right-hander Ronald Bolanos for assignment. Fleming, a 23-year-old with starting potential, was assigned to Class-A Quad Cities.

This is the second time Santana has been with Seattle, though the first lasted a mere 10 days. He was acquired along with J.P. Crawford from the Philadelphia Phillies for infielder Jean Segura, right-hander Juan Nicasio, and left-hander James Pazos on December 3, 2018; the Mariners then traded him away as part of a three-team deal with Cleveland and the Tampa Bay Rays.

This time should be different for Santana, who hit 19 homers in 158 games for Kansas City last season but was hitting just .216 with four homers through 52 games this season.

The Mariners were in search of a switch-hitter and an option at first base with leading hitter Ty France on the injured list with an elbow injury.

Santana has been better at the plate over the past month, hitting .357 with a 1.032 OPS in June.

The Mariners will pay $1.5 million of the remainder of Santana’s salary in the second year of a two-year, $17.5 million deal.

With the Royals last in the AL Central at 26-45 heading into their Monday night game against Texas, and Santana nearing the end of his contract, it was prudent for Kansas City to clear the way for Pasquantino to begin his big league career.

The 24-year-old was picked in the 11th round of the 2019 first-year player draft out of Old Dominion and was generally one of the Royals’ overlooked prospects until the past couple of seasons. Dubbed the “Italian Nightmare” by Hall of Famer George Brett in spring training, Pasquantino was hitting .280 with 18 homers this season at Omaha, and he was among the Triple-A leaders in extra-base hits, runs, homers and slugging percentage.

“I’m excited to be in the clubhouse every day and see what everybody’s about,” said Pasquantino, who joins top prospect Bobby Witt Jr. and catcher MJ Melendez among a wave of rookie position players in Kansas City.

“I’m coming into a clubhouse with some established veterans and I’m excited to learn from those guys,” he said.

Mills had a 4.15 ERA in eight appearances for Seattle this season, along with going 1-0 with a 1.83 ERA in 19⅔ innings for Triple-A Tacoma. Fleming was picked in the 11th round of last year’s first-year player draft out of Wake Forest and was 6-6 with a 4.92 ERA in 14 starts for Class-A Modesto this season.

Bolanos had a 4.42 ERA in eight appearances for Kansas City this season.

Carlos Santana to Perform Alongside Rob Thomas at “We Love NYC: The Homecoming Concert”

There’s more than a walk in the (Central) park in Carlos Santana’s future…

Amid concern over the Delta coronavirus variant, a mega-concert in Central Park to celebrate New York City’s reopening will go forward as planned next month, with performers including the 74-year-old Mexican-American guitarist/musician.

Carlos Santana

Santana, considered one of the greatest guitarists of all time, will perform alongside Rob Thomas. The pair teamed up in 1999 for Smooth“, a dynamic cha-cha stop-start number co-written and sung by Thomas of Matchbox Twenty and laced throughout with Santana’s guitar fills and runs. “Smooth” spent twelve weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming in the process the last No. 1 single of the 1990s.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio joined music industry legend Clive Davis, who is co-producing the concert, for a press conference to unveil the details of what de Blasio promised will be a “historic,” “blockbuster” event. Officially titled “We Love NYC: The Homecoming Concert,” the event is set for August 21 at 5:00 p.m., it will be broadcast live globally on CNN and 80% of tickets will be free.

While de Blasio initially proposed having vaccinated and unvaccinated sections, he said that attendees will be required to present proof of vaccination.

“New York City is back,” de Blasio said. “You can see it, you can feel it, and it’s time to celebrate on the Great Lawn.”

The lineup, which includes many New York natives, so far spans Jon BatisteAndrea Bocelli, Kane Brown, LL Cool J, Elvis Costello, Earth, Wind & Fire joined by Lucky Daye and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Cynthia Erivo, Jimmy Fallon, Jennifer Hudson, Wyclef Jean, Journey, The Killers, Gayle King, Don Lemon, Barry Manilow, The New York Philharmonic, Polo G, Carlos Santana joined by Rob Thomas, Paul Simon and Patti Smith duetting with Bruce Springsteen.

“As a born, bred and true New Yorker, I well know how resilient we are and how New York always comes back,” Davis said. “I cannot think of a more appropriate way to celebrate this than an unforgettable concert in the most special venue in the world: the Great Lawn at Central Park. My team, along with our partners at Live Nation, has been hard at work for weeks curating what I submit to you will be a once-in a lifetime event […] It will celebrate a spectacular range of musical genres, styles and eras while including some of the most iconic artists in the history of modern music.”

Davis, who was raised in Brooklyn, is co-producing alongside Live Nation. Restauranteur Danny Meyer, the recently-appointed chairman of the New York City Economic Development Corporation board of directors, is also involved, as is Universal Hip-Hop Museum executive director Rocky Bucano.

“We’re so honored to be part of this event,” added Live Nation regional president Geoff Gordon. “I too have goosebumps after hearing that, even though we’ve been involved in lining this up. Live music has the unique ability to bring us all together, which is really what we’re doing. There’s nothing like a live music experience.”

Tickets for the concert go on sale on Monday, August 2 at 10:00 a.m. EST on the new NYC Homecoming Week website, and the Great Lawn has a capacity of 60,000. The 20% of tickets not designated as free are VIP tickets available for purchase. De Blasio said that event workers will be checking for proof of vaccination as attendees enter, with more details to come. Asked by a reporter whether the vaccination requirement means the concert is for attendees aged 12 and over only, de Blasio said, “right now, that’s a fair assumption.”

The event will cap off a reopening celebration dubbed NYC Homecoming Week, during which the City of New York will host concerts in each of the five boroughs starting August 14, leading up to the Great Lawn spectacle on the 21st. The lead-up concerts will be held Aug. 16 at Orchard Beach in The Bronx; Aug. 17 at Richmond County Bank Park in Staten Island; Aug. 19 at Brooklyn Army Terminal in Brooklyn; and Aug. 20 at Forest Hills Stadium in Queens.

HBO to Premiere the Carlos Santana-Executive-Produced Music Documentary “Fandango at the Wall” This Month

Carlos Santana is bringing the fandango to the U.S./Mexico border wall, and HBO, this month…

HBO will premiere the heartfelt music documentary Fandango at the Wall, executive produced by the 73-year-old Mexican Grammy-winning musician/guitarist, at the end of the month.

Fandango-at-the-Wall

Directed by Varda Bar-Kar and executive produced by Santana, Quincy Jones, Andrew Young and Kabir Sehgal, Fandango at the Wall follows the journey of Grammy-winning musician Arturo O’Farrill and Grammy-winning producer Sehgal in Veracruz, Mexico, where they recruit musicians for a live album recording at the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

The project, which also includes a live album and a book, was inspired by the annual Fandango Fronterizo Festival, founded by Jorge Francisco Castillo and held at the Tijuana-San Diego border featuring the 300-year-old folk music tradition, son jarocho that fuses indigenous, Spanish and African traditions.

For Leslie Cohen, Senior Vice President, Content Acquisitions at HBO and HBO Max, “the film’s meaningful story and magical music will resonate deeply with our audience.”

Producer Doug Davis said in an official statement, “HBO has long demonstrated a commitment to documentarians like us who make socially-conscious films that explore important issues like immigration and identity.”

Celebrating friendship and unity, the film introduces the region’s son jarocho music, blended with big band arrangements, through interviews and concert footage including son jarocho artists Andrés Vega, Martha Vega, Ramón Gutiérrez, Wendy Cao Romero, Tacho Utrera, Fernando Guadarrama and Patricio Hidalgo.

Sehgal elaborated: “Paradoxically, our film shows how the border can become a place of friendship and amity by harnessing the power of Afro-Mexican music known as son jarocho. I’ve been making music for decades, and I’ve never experienced a more enveloping and transformative art form.”

Director Varda Bar-Kar also expressed appreciation for HBO’s commitment to “provide a platform for diverse filmmakers who tell compelling stories with authenticity, artistry, and layered meaning.”

Produced between Tiger Turn Productions and Sony Music Latin, in partnership with the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, Fandango at the Wall premieres at 8:00 pm ET on Friday, September 25 on HBO Latino with five additional HBO broadcasts scheduled in the subsequent days. HBO Max will stream in the U.S.

Carlos Santana Launches ‘New Hampshire Rocks!’ Music Education Program

Carlos Santana‘s bringing the music to the children of New Hampshire…

The 73-year-old Mexican legendary musician’s Milagro Foundation has partnered with the New Hampshire Department of Education, Little Kids Rock and Graystone Builders to bring music education to 13 New Hampshire schools.

Carlos Santana

The collective foundations raised $85,000 for the “New Hampshire Rocks!” statewide program, which aims to expand students’ educational opportunities by allowing them to create, perform and connect through music. 

Thirty teachers in various New Hampshire districts started receiving curriculum and professional training last Monday (Aug. 31) as the first equipped cohort in Little Kids Rock’s modern band pedagogy.

Additionally, 13 of those teachers will also receive instruments for their school music programs.

“For me, there is no greater joy than seeing the transformative powers that music can bring to a child. I know firsthand how it changed my life,” Santana said in a video statement. “It gave me a vocabulary and a confidence to know that I am significant, meaningful, and that I can make a difference in the world. That is what Little Kids Rock brings to these children – the knowledge that they are all of these things and can touch people’s hearts and make a difference in this world. It is an honor to work with Little Kids Rock and celebrate all that they continue to do in this world.”

Rodrigo y Gabriela Appear in KCET’s Series “In Concert at the Hollywood Bowl”

Rodrigo y Gabriela are ready to bowl you over…

The Mexican acoustic guitar duo, composed of Rodrigo Sánchez and Gabriela Quintero, appear in the premiere of KCET’s six-episode series In Concert at the Hollywood Bowl.

Rodrigo y Gabriela

It’s one of the most beautiful venues,” says Quintero of performing at the Hollywood Bowl. “And it’s one of my favorite spots, which is the Hollywood Hills. And nearby is the Observatory. Also it has good acoustics and the audiences there are just so loving. It’s magical every time.”

In January — after around two decades as professional musicians —Rodrigo y Gabriela won their first Grammy award for their album Mettavolution.

“Oh my goodness, this year was going to be a very busy one. We had a full year [of touring] booked,” says co-founder Quintero. Instead — as concert tours around the world were cancelled due to the coronavirus epidemic — the duo have spent the past few months in the Pacific coast Mexican town of Zihuatanejo.

Even though live shows are on hold, Rodrigo y Gabriela can be seen in action in a never-before-televised performance on In Concert at The Hollywood Bowl, which runs on PBS SoCal and which runs through September 23.

Produced in association with The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, the shows are a selection of some of the best performances at the iconic L.A. venue over the last 10 years, all drawn from the L.A. Phil’s archives. The Bowl itself closed this summer for the first time in its 98-year history.

The first episode — hosted, as all in the series are, by L.A. Phil Music and Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel — is titled “Hecho en Mexico” and also features Los Angeles Azules with Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA) and Paolo Bortolameolli, La Santa Cecilia and Natalia Lafourcade.

“Even though we met for the first time at the rehearsal, it felt like he was an old friend,” says Quintero of working with Dudamel. “It felt so familiar. And then working with him, it was incredible to feel his energy and watch him with the Philharmonic. As a human being, he’s a really nice guy and very down to earth.

Upcoming episodes of the weekly series will feature performers like Kristin Chenoweth, Herbie Hancock, Dianne Reeves, Carlos Santana and ballet star Misty Copeland.

Carlos Santana Producing Sony Music Latin & Tiger Turn Productions’ Border-Blurring Music Documentary “Fandango at the Wall”

Carlos Santana is folking up things at the U.S.-Mexico border…

Sony Music Latin has partnered with Tiger Turn Productions for the feature music documentary Fandango at the Wall, executive produced by the legendary 72-year-old Mexican guitarist.

Carlos Santana

The feature, directed by Varda Bar-Kar, follows Grammy-winning musician and Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra founder Arturo O’Farrill and Grammy-winning producer Kabir Sehgal as they prepare to record a live album at the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

In addition to Santana, the documentary is executive produced by Quincy Jones and Andrew Young.

Fandango at the Wall

 “When I first learned about this film, I knew we had to be part of it. We’re excited to partner with the production team and to share this powerful story with the world,” said Ruben Levya, Senior Vice President at Sony Music Latin, leading artist services and premium content.

“The film explores the roots of Latin music and, in particular, Afro-Mexican music known as son jarocho.It is both timely and timeless, as it looks at the issue of immigration between the United States and Mexico,” said Sehgal, who’s also a producer on the film. “We’re thrilled to partner with Sony Music Latin, which has long been the vanguard of creative content throughout the Americas.”

Combining art and advocacy, the film is inspired by the “Fandango Fronterizo” annual music festival which unites people in son jarocho‘s song and dance on both sides of the Tijuana-San Diego border. 

Fandango at the Wall

Before recording, “Fandango Fronterizo” organizer, Jorge Francisco Castillo, took O’Farrill and Sehgal on an inspiring journey of Veracruz, Mexico, where son jarocho, the 300-hundred-year-old folk music called combining indigenous, Spanish, and African traditions originated. As they travel to the far regions of the Veracruz coast, they meet legendary son jarochomusicians and artisans and recruit them for the upcoming festival. Their travels culminate at the annual border celebration, promoting peace, and celebrating unity.

“I’ve been captivated by the spirit of Mexico’s vibrant son jarochomusic community throughout the magical journey of making Fandango at the Wall,” said Bar-Kar. “I love making and watching music films, and I’ve long admired and appreciated the works that Sony Music Latin has brought to life.”

Fandango at the Wall features son jarocho legends Patricio HidalgoRamón GutiérrezWendy Cao RomeroTacho UtreraFernando GuadarramaAndrés Vega and Martha Vega.

It also includes special appearances by Regina Carter, multi-Grammy nominee and MacArthur Foundation FellowDouglas BrinkleyCNN Historian; Mandy Gonzalez, who performs in Broadway’s Hamilton; The Villalobos BrothersRahim AlHaj, Grammy nominee; and Sahba Motallebi.

The film was produced in partnership with the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance. Sony Music will also represent the film to third party distributors, platforms, and services.

Carlos Santana to Give Keynote Address at the Herb Alpert School of Music at UCLA’s Commencement Ceremony

Carlos Santana is preppin’ for a supernatural graduation…

The 72-year-old Mexican Grammy-winning guitarist and entrepreneur will be the featured speaker for the 2020 commencement ceremony at the Herb Alpert School of Music at UCLAon June 19. 

Carlos Santana

In a statement about the event, the school’s inaugural dean, Eileen L. Stempel, said that Santana’s “inclusive global sound and commitment to social justice are emblematic of our school’s core values,” adding, “I am deeply moved by his desire to share words of inspiration and encouragement with our graduates during this important time.”

“I feel honored to be speaking to young musicians and a new generation of music scholars,” said the Grammy-winning Rock and Roll Hall of Famer in a statement. “The class of 2020 is resilient and their voices are needed now more than ever. I want them to use their music as a platform to empower and unite as we seek justice and creative solutions during these challenging times.”

The 2020 commencement will take place online on June 19 at 4:00 p.m. PDT; it will also include music and remarks by graduating students and a performance by the Herbie Hancock Institute for Jazz Performance at UCLA.

This year’s graduating class at the school will feature 130 graduates from the departments of ethnomusicology, global jazz studies, music, music industry and musicology.

Carlos Santana Among Artists Taking Part in ‘Artists United for Amazonia’ Global Livestream to Benefit Amazon Emergency Fund

Carlos Santana will be strummin’ for a cause…

The 72-year-old Mexican Grammy-winning guitarist and entrepreneur will be taking part in a global livestream event to benefit the Amazon Emergency Fund, an indigenous-led effort providing rapid response grants in the region to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Carlos Santana

Santana, considered one of the greatest guitarists of all time, will be joined by Jane FondaMorgan FreemanPeter Gabriel and numerous other artists for the Thursday, May 28 event. 

They’ll join indigenous leaders, scientists and a coalition of NGOs in presentng Artists United for Amazonia: Protecting the Protectors, a livestream event produced by Artists for Amazonia

The two-hour event will run from 8:00 pm to 10 pm ETE and will be hosted by part-Spanish actress and Game of Thrones co-star Oona Chaplin, who played Talisa Maegyr on the series. The livestream will be available via Facebook and through the event website. 

The program will promote the Amazon Emergency Fund, launched last month by a coalition of indigenous organizations, NGOs, and allies to respond to the urgent needs of indigenous peoples of the Amazon threatened by COVID-19.

Funds raised will be used for: immediate prevention and care; food and medical supplies; emergency communications and evacuation; protection and security for indigenous territories; and food sovereignty and community resilience. The Amazon Emergency Fund aims to raise $5 million over the next 60 days for Forest Guardians to protect themselves against the pandemic in all nine Amazonian countries. 

The Artists United for Amazonialivestream will feature living-room musical performances, interviews, and calls to action.

Performers include Herbie HancockRocky Dawuni, Butterscotch ClintonXiuhtezcatl MartinezCary ElwesAlfre WoodardWade Davis,Wagner Moura, and Brazilian Grammy winners Ivan Lins and Luciana Souza.

Others participating include Jane GoodallTom Bergeron, Ed Begley Jr.Frances FisherMatti Caspi, Suyan CaspiWendie MalickScottie ThompsonKali UchisRocky DawuniCeline CousteauMatthew ModineQ’orianka KilcherChloe Smith from Rising AppalachiaSonia GuajajaraAngela KaxuyanaNina GualingaBenki PiyakoMapu Huni Kuin, Lizardo CauperThomas LovejoyCarlos Nobre, Atossa SoltaniLeila Salazar-LópezChristina Miller, and Wade Davis

“This event is part of an extraordinary alliance of organizations and individuals dedicated to preserving the most biodiverse region on Earth,” said Sarah duPont, founder of Amazon Aid Foundation and co-director, River of Gold. “Illicit and unregulated gold mining is one of the most dangerous forms of deforestation in the Amazon Basin and releases toxic mercury into the ecosystem. Since the pandemic, gold mining has exploded across the Amazon and into indigenous territories bringing with it violence and COVID-19. Now, the Amazon is at the tipping point and the protectors of the Amazon are under dire threat. What happens in the Amazon affects us all.” 

Leila Salazar-López, Executive Director of Amazon Watch, added: “The Amazon and its peoples are in a state of emergency due to climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a crime against nature and a crime against humanity. It is a time for all to unite and act in defense of the forest and in solidarity with the indigenous and traditional peoples across the Amazon who are protecting this great rainforest and our climate for all of humanity and life on Earth.”