In a rare conversational break during his concert in Tel Aviv on Saturday night, Carlos Santana urged tens of thousands of Israelis to pray for peace and an end to violence.
The veteran guitarist, 69, who drew a crowd estimated at over 25,000 to Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park, led an 11-strong band through a show that lasted well over two hours and mixed 19 hits and favorites from his five-decade career.
There were few direct references to Israel in the show, just a “Shalom” from his bass guitarist, snatches of “Exodus” and “Hava Nagila” during the jams, and, during the brief moments when Santana addressed the crowd, his much-applauded report that his wife — the band’s powerhouse drummer Cindy Blackman — went to Jerusalem on Friday “and she said there’s a vibration in there that’s really powerful, bigger than the Pacific Ocean or the Atlantic Ocean.”
Santana, who was pressured by the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement to cancel Saturday’s show, and who was misreported to have cancelled a 2010 concert because of BDS pressure (when it was a function of tour logistics), said it was “an honor to be in your light and your love, with so much beauty and grace.”
The Mexican-born musician, who has said he will give most of the proceeds of the concert to charities for Israeli and Palestinian children, told the crowd that “we can conquer fear in this planet,” that “we are the architects of tomorrow,” and that “everything that’s happening in the world, in Europe, in America, is happening because it’s time for us to change. We gotta change.”
To that end, he urged, “We must pray. Pray with the light in your heart. Pray for peace on Earth. Peace on Earth. Peace on Earth. Peace only on Earth. Peace, only peace. No more brutality. No more violence. No more cruelty. Only peace on earth. For you, for me, for your family, everyone.”