Carlos Santana’s definition of magic is simple: “Magic is when you command the elements to capture people’s hearts,” he says in the trailer for the forthcoming documentary CARLOS: The Santana Journey. The film, which is set for a general theatrical release on Sept. 29, shows that the legendary musician doesn’t just believe in magic — he creates it.
In the brief preview, Santana remembers the pivotal moment when he was invited to perform at the Fillmore in San Fransisco. “Bill Graham came to me and he said, ‘You’re gonna open up for the Who, Steve Miller, and Howlin’ Wolf,” he recalled, remembering how mind-blown he was at the time.
Those early moments preceded a career that has already spanned five decades and nearly a dozen Grammy Award wins, eight of which Santana collected in one night back in 2000. “I’ll always cherish the whole day at the Grammys,” the musician told Rolling Stone in 2020. “I kept hearing Bill Graham’s voice saying inwardly, in my heart, ‘You are the voice for the voiceless. You give voice to all the dishwashers, all people who clean sheets, clean toilets, pick the food, all those people who you never see them unless you want to ask them to stick around for two more hours to babysit your kids. You are the voice of them.’ When he said that to me a long time ago, it really meant a lot.”
Directed by Ruby Valdez, CARLOS: The Santana Journey attempts to contextualize the whirlwind of his long and decorated career.
“The electric documentary CARLOS utilizes new interviews with Santana and his family alongside extraordinary, never-before-seen archival footage — including home video recordings Santana himself made, concert footage, and behind- the-scenes moments,” a synopsis for the film reads. “Two-time Emmy-winning director Rudy Valdez creates an intimate, rich documentary about a man whose sound casts a magical spell on his fans around the world.”
The documentary will open in select theaters on Sept. 23, 24, and 27. Those screenings will feature additional introductory content from Santana and Valdez.