Who Is Cindy Blackman Santana?

Who is Cindy Blackman Santana?

Cindy Blackman Santana, a name that resonates with the beats of jazz and the rhythms of rock. From the bustling streets of New York to the grand stages of world tours, Cindy’s drumming prowess has left an indelible mark on the music industry.

But who is Cindy Blackman Santana? Let’s embark on a musical journey to discover the beats of her life.

Full NameCindy Blackman Santana
BornNovember 18, 1959
OriginYellow Springs, Ohio, U.S.
GenresJazz, rock, funk
Associated ActsLenny Kravitz, Carlos Santana, Tony Williams, Pharoah Sanders

Early Life and Passion for Drums

Cindy’s Early Attraction to Drums

Born in Ohio and raised in Connecticut, Cindy’s tryst with drums began at a tender age of three. Like a moth to a flame, she was drawn to the rhythmic beats and dynamic emotions of the drums.

By the age of seven, she had graduated from a toy drum kit to her first professional set, setting the stage for a lifelong passion.

The Journey from Toy Drums to Professional Sets

By the time she was 13, Cindy had already joined her first professional group, playing in a funk rock trio in Bristol, Connecticut. The drums weren’t just an instrument for her; they were an extension of her soul.

Educational Pursuits

Berklee College of Music

Cindy’s thirst for knowledge led her to the prestigious Berklee College of Music. Though she spent only three semesters there, the experience enriched her musical journey, introducing her to various genres and styles.

Lessons from Legendary Drummers

New York City in the ’80s was a haven for budding musicians. Cindy seized this opportunity to watch legendary drummers perform live, absorbing their techniques and styles. From Art Blakey to Max Roach, she was a keen observer, learning and evolving with each performance.

The New York Street Performer

Cindy Blackman Santana

Busking in the Big Apple

Before the world tours and the albums, Cindy was a street performer in New York City. The streets were her stage, and the passersby her audience. This phase of her life was not just about earning a living but also about understanding her audience and refining her art.

Learning from Jazz Greats

The NYC jazz scene was thriving, and Cindy was right in the thick of it. She had the privilege of learning firsthand from some of the greatest jazz musicians in history, including Art Blakey and Tony Williams. These interactions shaped her musical style and gave her a deeper understanding of jazz.

Journey with Lenny Kravitz

The Iconic “Are You Gonna Go My Way” Video

The early ’90s saw Cindy make a significant career move when she auditioned for Lenny Kravitz’s band. What was supposed to be a two-week exploration turned into a 17-year-long association. And who can forget her iconic performance in the “Are You Gonna Go My Way” video?

17 Years of Rocking with Lenny

Cindy’s association with Lenny Kravitz was not just professional; it was a bond forged in the fires of music. From world tours to hit albums, they created magic together, with Cindy’s drums complementing Lenny’s vocals perfectly.

The Santana Connection

Cindy Blackman with Carlos Santana

First Gig with Carlos Santana

Cindy’s association with Carlos Santana began in the spring of 2010. Their chemistry, both on stage and off it, was palpable. This professional collaboration soon turned personal when Carlos proposed to Cindy during a concert in July 2010.

By December, they were married, and Cindy Blackman became Cindy Blackman Santana.

A Marriage Born from Music

Carlos and Cindy’s relationship is a testament to the power of music. Their shared passion for improvisation and belief in the transcendent nature of music has not only strengthened their bond but also enriched their musical collaborations.

Cindy’s Musical Philosophy

Controlled Freedom in Jazz

For Cindy, playing jazz is about controlled freedom. It’s about knowing the song forms yet having the freedom to stretch over them. This approach allows the music to grow, breathe, and evolve, making each performance unique.

The Spiritual Connection of Music

To Cindy, music is more than just sound; it’s a spiritual experience. It’s a way to connect with the higher self and the universe. Through her music, she aims to channel positive energy and make a difference in people’s lives.

Collaborations and Tours

Working with Jazz and Rock Legends

Cindy’s musical journey has seen her collaborate with a plethora of artists, from Pharoah Sanders to Joe Henderson. Each collaboration has been a learning experience, adding new dimensions to her music.

Global Tours and Musical Experiments

From the streets of New York to stages worldwide, Cindy’s tours have taken her to every corner of the globe. These tours have been a melting pot of cultures and musical styles, influencing her drumming techniques and musical sensibilities.

Solo Ventures and Albums

Another Lifetime and Its Critical Acclaim

Cindy’s solo ventures have been as impactful as her collaborations. Her album “Another Lifetime” received critical acclaim, showcasing her versatility as a musician.

Exploring New Musical Horizons

Cindy’s insatiable thirst for musical exploration has seen her experiment with various genres and styles. From jazz to rock to funk, she has dabbled in it all, leaving her mark every time.

The Woman Behind the Drums

Breaking Stereotypes

In a male-dominated field, Cindy has shattered stereotypes. Her journey has had its share of challenges, but her passion and determination have seen her rise above them.

Embracing Womanhood in a Male-Dominated Field

Cindy takes pride in her identity as a woman. She believes that her gender has never been a hindrance; instead, it has given her a unique perspective, enriching her music.

Future Endeavors and Projects

Upcoming Collaborations

Cindy’s journey is far from over. With several upcoming collaborations and projects in the pipeline, the future looks promising.

New Material and Artistic Directions

Always the innovator, Cindy is constantly exploring new musical horizons. With a slew of new material set to release, fans have a lot to look forward to.


Cindy Blackman Santana’s journey is a testament to the power of passion and perseverance. From a young girl fascinated by drums to a world-renowned drummer, her story is an inspiration to all. As we tap our feet to her beats, we can’t help but admire the woman behind the drums.

Written by Varsha Sharma