Santana Raises Millions to Fight AIDS

By | July 16, 2003 at 12:00 AM

Grammy-winning guitarist Carlos Santana has been working for free this summer so that those engaged in the fight against AIDS may benefit.

Santana, who pledged the net proceeds from the U.S. leg of his “Shaman” tour to the fight against the AIDS pandemic in Africa, wrapped up the 23-city tour Monday night with a Hollywood Bowl show before a packed audience.

He estimates the tour raised at least $2 million.

“Because of you, there will be education, prevention, and there will be healing. Thank you for coming forward with your beautiful heart and your energy,” Santana, who turns 56 on Sunday, told the cheering crowd.

The money will go to a fund run by Los Angeles-based nonprofit Artists for a New South Africa, which supports South African groups fighting the spread of HIV and AIDS.

Sharon Gelman, the group’s executive director, called Santana’s pledge, “a very significant contribution.”

“This is basically Carlos working for a month and a half and giving away every penny he would earn to help other people,” she said.

Sub-Saharan Africa has been hit harder by HIV-AIDS than any other region of the world.

The United Nations estimates nearly 30 million Africans are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus or have AIDS, and that in 2002, 2.4 million died of HIV-related causes.

In South Africa, 600 die every day; another 1,600 contract HIV, according to the artists group.

Santana, who won nine Grammys for his “Supernatural” album, said that when he released “Shaman” last fall, he hoped the album would be a healing force for the world.

“Shamans heal with music and herbs. You have Buddha, Krishna, Allah, Rama, Jehovah,” he said at the time. “They all want unity and harmony on this planet, all of them. That’s the message: unity and harmony and transform your fear.”

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