Interview by Robert Cavuoto
Cindy Blackman Santana is most famously known for being an extraordinary rock and jazz drummer performing with Lenny Kravitz and Carlos Santana, but some might not know about her love and passion for art. Cindy along with SceneFour will be bringing a collection of her rhythms to a canvas, entitled The Quantum Art Collection. It’s a personal look into another dimension where she shares her emotions and positive energy.
Throughout my conversation with Cindy, I could feel her pride and excitement about the collection. She shared with me her insights into the creation of these memorizing images, what she would like her fans to take away from them, and the secret to her enduring marriage to legendary guitarist, Carlos Santana. Visit the link to view all the pieces in her collection: www.scenefourart.com
Robert Cavuoto: Can you tell me how this project of combining rhythm and artwork came about with SceneFour?
Cindy Blackman Santana: I’m really proud of these pieces and working with the people at SceneFour was wonderful. It is something they have been doing for quite a while. My drum tech
was the person who initially told me about them. I was intrigued because I love the artwork, dimension, color, texture, and of course drumming so combining art and drumming sounded like a beautiful adventure. When I saw examples
of other people’s work, I was hooked. My final pieces remind me of something from other dimensions; it’s very sci-fi with its look and feels. I’m a sci-fi nut. I love the stars, space, and how it relates to us
here on this planet in this realm. I do a lot of reading and studying about that, so it fit my personality nicely.
Robert Cavuoto: What is the process SceneFour uses to capture these images?
Cindy Blackman Santana: It was a very cool process. They black-outed a room allowing no light to come in. I played the drums with sticks that glowed in the dark; they had multiple colored sticks available. Using these sticks, I would play patterns and rhythms which made unique designs in different color combinations and textures. The photographer would take photos of me playing from different angles to showcase the beautiful colors. Every shot taken was different, so we had many images to choose from. With his photographic eye, the rhythms I played and the colored sticks I used; brought the patterns and dimensions to life that you see in the final pieces.
Robert Cavuoto: Your playing incorporates so many styles, nuances, and musical colors – it must be exciting to bring those aspects to a physical canvas?
Cindy Blackman Santana: It was amazing. I had done a similar project when I lived in Boston a long time ago. At a concert my band and I played, an artist hung a huge canvas behind us and painted images and textures from what he felt from hearing our music. Afterward, they sold the painting and gave the money to charity. In terms of the creative aspect, it was amazing because of what he came up with. That really peaked my love and desire for artwork. There was another time when I was on tour with Lenny Kravitz in Amsterdam, and I went to visit the Vincent van Gogh museum. I was blown away to see his work-up close; with the thickness of the paint, the stokes, the colors, texture, and emotions he captured. I was so inspired after that visit I named my next record Works on Canvas and wrote three musical pieces call the “The Three Van Goghs” about my three favorite paintings from that day. Art is such a creative outlet and combining that with music is supreme. Fast forward to this project with SceneFour, and it was right up my alley in terms of creativity, expression, texture, color, and energy.
Robert Cavuoto: Were you playing any songs while the camera was capturing the images?
Cindy Blackman Santana: I was hearing rhythms and playing to melodies because that is what I normally do. The only thing I changed was when they wanted me to speed up or slow down the tempo so they could capture those motions. There was also a point where they wanted big motions so played things that would give them that effect.
Robert Cavuoto: I really liked the piece entitled “Frequency” because of the colors plus you and the drum kit are silhouetted. What can you tell me about that piece?
Cindy Blackman Santana: That piece is about energy. They are all energetic in their own way. The frequency that resonates with humans on this Earth is called the human resonant frequency. That is the frequency of life. To me, that piece tapped into that. It’s the frequency that we all derive our powerful energy from. There are other frequencies like healing frequencies.
Robert Cavuoto: The artwork is quite vibrant, do you think it captured your personality?
Cindy Blackman Santana: I do. I love color and texture, vibrations, and good positive energy, so I think the artwork captured that. I don’t think I could be any happier with the way they came out. The only thing that would make me happier is to do another set of them. [Laughing]
Robert Cavuoto: Art can be inspiring and provide self-realization not only to the viewer but the artist, what did you discover about yourself through this process as well as with the final pieces?
Cindy Blackman Santana: I don’t know if it so much of a discovery, rather a confirmation of what I love and I look for in my everyday life. Whether on or off the drums or speaking with someone or being by myself; I relish in energy and putting energy out. I love breathing it in, and that is what these pieces are all about. It’s the confirmation of all that I love to do and all that I love to share.
Robert Cavuoto: Do you have any favorites?
Cindy Blackman Santana: “Galactic Grace,” “Present Future,” and “Frequency” are some of my favorites.
Robert Cavuoto: What would you like your fans to take away from your artwork?
Cindy Blackman Santana: I hope it is thought-provoking to people. That they feel very inter-dimensional. I feel other dimensions in these works, and I’m hoping that it helps people expand their way of thinking, their paradigm, and being. We can’t forget that we are beings of sharing a physical experience. I don’t believe there is another realm and this realm is to be enjoyed in all aspects. I hope it helps expands the way they see the world and themselves. We are very powerful beings, and we are not always taught that. We are taught we need a connection to the creator which I don’t believe we do. I believe that we can each speak to the creator ourselves. We are not taught that for some reason. When you keep people from knowing how powerful they are, it keeps them controlled. For me, I’m hoping that people can come into their own power by seeing these pieces and realizing that they are other dimensions they can tap into. That takes time, and mediation helps. When you don’t take the time to get to know yourself and hear the universe talking, you will never know what it is. I heard a quote once, “Prayer is speaking to God, but mediation is God speaking to us.” Whether you want to call it God, Allah, the Creator, or Mother Nature from my perspective, it’s the same energy. When we can listen to that voice, then we are able to tap into everything that is here on a much deeper level.
Robert Cavuoto: You will be heading out with Carlos Santana to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Supernatural and his 50th anniversary of performing at Woodstock – what can fans expect?
Cindy Blackman Santana: That it will be a powerful tour! The Supernatural record was so successful with such great music. We are going to play the entire record at points on the tour. It will be a power-packed show full of energy which they always are. I’m looking forward to that tour.
Robert Cavuoto: What would you say has been the secret to your enduring marriage to Carlos and working together in a band?
Cindy Blackman Santana: The secret is to give respect to the other person’s space and points of view as well as to your own space and points of view. When you are with a strong person, it is easy to get lost in that person’s vibration. We always need to remember our own power of right and wrong and who you are; to not yield to others in regards to our sense of mortality. The point of any relationship is to grow together. The more you see yourself and the other person, the more you are able to grow and alter to improve. Remember that life is supposed to be fun so keep things fun. Do physical things together, as that not only endearing you to as a person but to yourself. When you can truly love yourself, you can truly love somebody else. If you have any hidden animosity or guilty feelings towards yourself, then that will come out in your relationship. I did a lot of working on myself before meeting up with Carlos, and he did a lot of work on himself prior. That helped us both in being a couple as long as we keep doing that we will be fine.
Robert Cavuoto: Do you ever glance at Carlos and realize what a legendary guitarist and musician he is?
Cindy Blackman Santana: [Laughing] Yeah, because he is great! Sometimes I look at him, and I’m so impressed by what he is doing. I accept and appreciate that. At the same time when we are playing and making music; we have to look at each other eye-to-eye otherwise it won’t work. Off the stage, we are together as people, and I don’t see myself as any less than him and vise versa. I see two people with great things happening in different areas, and we can lift them up to be more magnificent. In other areas, I believe they are already there, but there is always room for growth. When I’m walking down the street with him or at dinner; I’m having a conversation with this person names Carlos Santana who happens to be my husband and friend. If I have a feeling or a comment about something I’m going to say it in a nice loving way; just like he would. That’s good because I would rather know what is on someone’s mind and I think it’s healthy.
Robert Cavuoto: Do you have any plans to release a new CD?
Cindy Blackman Santana: I have a new CD coming out in the Spring with Carlos Santana, John McLaughlin, Vernon Reid, and Kirk Hammett; these guys are all my favorite guitar players.