Cindy Blackman Santana: The Drummer Who Rocks The Carlyle Room

This Friday and Saturday, Cindy Blackman Santana, the drummer for Lenny Kravitz and Carlos Santana, is hosting a party at The Carlyle Room in the northwest district of Columbia.

Born in 1959 in the small town of Yellow Springs, Ohio, Cindy Blackman Santana grew up on funk, jazz, classical, and rock and roll. Her early exposure to these diverse musical genres shaped her unique drumming style, which would later become her signature in the music industry.

After her family moved to Connecticut, she studied at the Hartt School of Music in Hartford and the Berklee College of Music in Boston. These institutions provided her with a solid foundation in music theory and performance, further honing her skills as a drummer. However, her passion for live performance led her to leave her studies and join The Drifters, a doo-wop and R&B group. This decision marked the beginning of her professional career in music.

In 1993, after moving to New York, she received a call from Lenny Kravitz from across the country, inviting her to Los Angeles for an audition for his music video “Are You Gonna Go My Way”. This opportunity not only led to her becoming his touring drummer for nearly two decades but also introduced her to a wider audience. She appeared in the live concert documentary “Alive from Planet Earth”, filmed live in Australia, further cementing her status as a world-class drummer.

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While performing with Kravitz at a music festival in Germany in 2005, she met her future husband Carlos Santana. Their shared love for music brought them together, and their relationship blossomed both on and off the stage. Carlos dramatically proposed to her on stage during a concert in Chicago on July 9, 2010, marking a new chapter in their lives.

Fourteen years later, the husband-and-wife musicians are still going strong. “It’s really cool to do what you love most with the person you love,” she said. “We can share something divine. Music is like prayer to me, it’s the highest form of communication because it transcends and crosses any barriers, be it racial, political, cultural – it doesn’t matter what it is, it transcends them. That’s why I love music, and the opportunity to share this with Carlos – it’s just an incredible journey, the greatest joy, the greatest ride.”

Cindy’s journey is a testament to the power of passion and dedication. From her early days in Yellow Springs to her time with The Drifters and Lenny Kravitz, and now her partnership with Carlos Santana, she has consistently demonstrated her love for music and her ability to transcend barriers with her art. Her story is not just about her success as a musician, but also about her journey as a woman in the music industry, her enduring love story with Carlos, and her belief in the transformative power of music. It’s a story that continues to inspire and resonate with music lovers around the world. Whether she’s performing at The Carlyle Room or on a global stage, Cindy Blackman Santana continues to rock the world with her music.

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