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Music / Abraxas (Album)
aka: Abraxas

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"Oye como va?", black magic woman?

Abraxas is the sophomore album from Santana, released in September 1970. Considered to be one of Santana's finest releases, it helped shape their current sound after the primitive cover-heavy sound of their self-titled debut the year prior, containing some of their best-known tracks, including "Oye como va" and "Black Magic Woman" (both of which, ironically, are nonetheless covers).


Side One

  1. "Singing Winds, Crying Beasts" (4:51)
  2. "Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen" (5:24)
  3. "Oye como va" (4:17)
  4. "Incident at Neshabur" (4:58)

Side Two

  1. "Se a cabo" (2:50)
  2. "Mother's Daughter" (4:25)
  3. "Samba pa' ti" (4:45)
  4. "Hope You're Feeling Better" (4:10)
  5. "El Nicoya" (1:30)


Black Magic Tropes

  • Bilingual Bonus: Some tracks are sung in Spanish, others in English.
  • Cover Version: While most of the tracks are original compositions, the three most famous songs are ironically all covers.
    • "Black Magic Woman" is a Fleetwood Mac cover (yes, that Fleetwood Mac - they were a blues-rock band before they recorded their more famous pop material).
    • "Gypsy Queen" is a cover of Hungarian jazz guitarist Gábor Szabó.
    • "Oye como va" is a Tito Puente cover.
  • Design Student's Orgasm: The album cover is Annunciation, a 1961 painting by German-French painter Mati Klarwein, who also created the covers of Miles Davis' Bitches Brew and numerous other albums. Santana reportedly saw a reproduction of it in a magazine and asked to use it for the album cover. "It did me a world of good," Klarwein later recalled.
  • Genre Mashup: The album mixes rock, blues, and salsa.
  • Instrumentals: "Singing Winds, Crying Beasts", "Samba pa ti", "Incident at Neshabur".
  • Advertisement:
  • Ms. Fanservice: The woman on the album cover.
  • One-Woman Song: "Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen", "Mother's Daughter".
  • One-Word Title: "Abraxas".
  • The Power of Rock: "Oye como va mi ritmo", a song which translates to: "Listen to how my rhythm goes".
  • Shout-Out:
    • The title is based on a line from Hermann Hesse's novel Demian, also quoted on the back cover:
    We stood before it and began to freeze inside from the exertion. We questioned the painting, berated it, made love to it, prayed to it: We called it mother, called it whore and slut, called it our beloved, called it Abraxas....
    • "Black Magic Woman" was referenced by The Fugees on their album The Score (1996) during the track "Zealots":
    My grammar plays/ like Carlos Santana plays "Black Magic Woman"
    • The movie A Serious Man features a reference to the album, as the son of the protagonist orders it (and other records) from a record club without his permission, much to his surprise.
  • Siamese Twin Songs: "Black Magic Woman" is almost never played on the radio without its outro "Gypsy Queen". They're even indexed as one track on CD versions. On this album, "Gypsy Queen" fades into "Oye como va" - and they were even often played that way live - but they are generally played separately on the radio.
  • Song Style Shift: Their version of "Black Magic Woman" speeds up for an epic instrumental outro (actually a separate song, "Gypsy Queen"). "Incident at Neshabur" does the exact opposite, starting at a frenetic pace only to slow down abruptly in the second half of the song.

Alternative Title(s): Abraxas