Carlos Santana will deliver the keynote address at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music’s June 19 commencement, which will be held online, the university announced Monday.
“I feel honored to be speaking to young musicians and a new generation of music scholars,” Santana said in a statement released by UCLA. “The class of 2020 is resilient, and their voices are needed now more than ever. I want them to use their music as a platform to empower and unite as we seek justice and creative solutions during these challenging times.”
Last month, the 72-year-old guitarist-bandleader and his wife, Cindy Blackman Santana, released their rendition of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Imagine.” The couple is donating proceeds from the sale of the single through SongAid to WhyHunger, a nonprofit fighting hunger around the world.
In 1998, Santana and his family founded the Milagro Foundation, which has granted more than $8 million for nonprofit programs that support underserved youth in the areas of arts, education and health.
The 10-time Grammy Award-winning artist has sold more than 100 million records worldwide and has produced countless chart-topping hits, including “Black Magic Woman,” “Oye Como Va,” and “Smooth.” His group, Santana, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
Born in Mexico, Santana immigrated with his family to the United States when he was a teenager. Prior to his career-launching performance at the Woodstock festival in 1969, he worked as a dishwasher in San Francisco while mastering the virtuoso guitar skills for which he would become known. Santana’s humble beginnings paved the way for a lifelong commitment to social justice and humanitarian work.
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