"We mourn the loss of my brother Raul Rekow. He was an integral member of Santana for 34 years and the heartbeat of the band. His presence on the stage was one of power, grace, collaboration and joy. He redefined what it means to be a conga player. My heart goes out to his family. Raul, may you soar in heaven in the company of your mom and dad."
The San Francisco-born Raul Rekow was initially self-taught. He joined the band Malo, led by Carlos Santana's brother Jorge Santa in 1972. They had a huge hit with "Suavecito."
After Malo Raul joined Sapo, another Latin-rock band, before getting asked to jam with Carlos in 1976. Soon after he was invited to join the band. There he learned from Santana veterans such as the legendary Armando Peraza and Orestes Vilato.
He passed on that knowledge at many clinics along with fellow Santana timbalero artist Karl Perazzo. When they performed together, the duo fed off of each other's energy and talent, resulting in a kinetic performance whether live in a clinic or on their best-selling instructional video 'From Afro-Cuban to Rock'.
Raul also recorded and performed with Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, Whitney Houston, Herbie Hancock and others.
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