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Santana And The Isley Brothers Come Together For 'Power Of Peace'

<em>Power Of Peace</em> is a new album from Carlos Santana and The Isley Brothers.
Courtesy of the artist
Power Of Peace is a new album from Carlos Santana and The Isley Brothers.

Power Of Peace is a new release from the great Carlos Santana in collaboration with the iconic soul band The Isley Brothers. The album also features Cindy Blackman Santana, Carlos' wife and his band's drummer.

Ronnie and Ernie Isley are the remaining members of a family band that had a string of hits from the 1950s through the '80s, with tunes like "Twist and Shout," "It's Your Thing" and "That Lady."

Santana says the songs on this collection are carefully curated for Ronnie Isley's signature voice.

"The sound, resonance, vibration of brother Ronnie is an ocean," he says. "It's a legion of angels in one note, one voice. It's not AutoTune or fixing something up."

Ronnie Isley says that for him and his brother, guitarist Ernie Isley, recording with Carlos Santana crossed from the musical into the spiritual realm.

"The Lord is leading us to do this album together," Ronnie says. "Carlos was calling the album Power Of Peace. And I was just wondering: Where will the Lord take us this time with this album? I'm still anxious to know the answer, but I know it's going to be something great."

For Ernie, trading licks in the studio with Santana was a truly special experience.

"To be in the studio with him was a joy," Ernie says. "I was watching him play, grinning while he was playing — and then he'd stop and point to me, and I'd look up and he'd be grinning too! Any other time if I had allowed myself, I probably would have stopped playing and just started laughing! [Laughs.] Because it was that much of an experience, you know?"

For Carlos Santana, what makes a song enduring is much more than a memorable melody. And he says the Isley Brothers understand that in their bones.

"Ronnie [and] Ernie: they wrote some songs, and they're not the flavor of the second," he says. "They're here for immortality, like John Lennon's 'Imagine,' or Bob Dylan's 'Blowin' In The Wind,' 'What's Going On' [by] Marvin Gaye. I can tell the songs that are destined to stay frozen in immortality, eternity and infinity, and that's the sound we wanted to create in particular with Power Of Peace. If you play this music in elevators, shopping malls, parking lots, CNN, in Europe, we will certainly elevate this planet into a place where we will see and witness world peace in our life time."

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Felix Contreras is co-creator and host of Alt.Latino, NPR's pioneering radio show and podcast celebrating Latin music and culture since 2010.