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INTERVIEW: Stone Flower Co-Founder Hugo Santiago On The Santana Tribute Band, Upcoming Hamptons Show And More

T.J. Clemente

Stone Flower will make their first Bay Street appearance. (Courtesy Photo)

In an interview with Hugo Santiago, one of the founders of Stone Flower, a band that came together because of a love for the music and sounds of Carlos Santana, Mr. Santiago said that they are all excited to be coming out to the East End of Long Island. He relayed that the founding members shared a vision to form a truly percussive, high-energy tribute to the Hall of Fame Artist and his band, Santana. Santiago is especially thrilled to be showcasing that wonderful sound at the Bay Street Theater for the first time ever on Saturday, February 22, at 8 p.m., with a one-night show entitled Santana Tribute with Stone Flower.

The name Stone Flower comes from a song of the same name, from Santana's Caravanserai Album. This album represented a pivotal point in the evolution of Santana's sound from the Latin Rock/Blues, through the fusion albums, to the high-energy, Afro-Cuban collaborative rock sounds that defines Carlos Santana and his Band today. Since the band will be performing songs from Santana's early days from the Woodstock era through current songs, they selected Stone Flower as the name of their group.

Hugo Santiago was born in Colombia, but moved to New Jersey when he was seven-years-old in the early 1970's. His love of the Latin beat brought him to playing congas and he confessed to Hamptons.com, "I still have my original bongo drums from when I really started playing in high school at home. They are so heavy!"

He explained, "When we first came up with the idea of a Santana band in the 1990's, we knew it was a good idea, but I have been amazed at how the music of Santana has a certain magic and energy that is timeless. We sound really good. We really play the songs like they were played at Woodstock and when we play Black Magic Woman, it is always a high point of the show." Santiago would not reveal what song Stone Flower closes the show with, but he did say this, "When we play it, everyone is moving and grooving to the music."

When asked about a recent highlight for the band, Santiago mentioned a Stone Flower show in summer 2019 at the Hudson Valley Expo in Peekskill, NY. He said, "There was a great Jimi Hendrix tribute and a Janis Joplin tribute band. It was a great show and, I have to admit, I was thrilled as was the whole crowd to watch the young Janis Joplin look-alike singer dancing to our music!"

Stone Flower features Hugo Santiago, Lead Vocals, Congas, Timbales, Bongo, Harmonica, Guitar, and Percussion; Jason Torres, Lead Vocals, Congas, and Percussion; Ray Del Vecchio, Bass Guitar; Peter Weiss, Lead Guitar and Vocals; Rob Siebert, Keyboards and Vocals, and Mark Vaccaro, Drums, Percussion, and Vocals.

Tickets to Santana Tribute with Stone Flower are $30 to $35.

Bay Street is located at 1 Bay Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call 631-725-9500 or visit www.baystreet.org.

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