Except for a two-year hiatus at the end of the '80s, Raul Rekow has been an integral part of the Santana Band since 1976. Joining their ranks was a dream come true for the San Francisco native who, as a teenager, first witnessed Carlos and company onstage at the Cow Palace, appearing second to last on a mammoth bill of twenty acts. The life-changing experience inspired Raul to take up congas, and he soon began playing with Soul Sacrifice, a popular late '60s/early '70s Bay Area club band specializing in Santana covers. That led to his joining Malo, the Latin funk-rock outfit -- featuring Carlos' brother Jorge Santana on guitar - that had a huge crossover hit in 1972 with 'Suavecito.' A stint with Sapo, another Latin fusion act followed, and then came the call from the Santana office, asking Raul to jam with Carlos and Tom Coster. Soon after, Carlos invited Raul to join the band, and the rest, as they say, is history. Over the years, Raul has also lent his talents to recording and performing with artists including Aretha Franklin, Patti Labelle, Whitney Houston, Tremaine Hawkins and Herbie Hancock. He has a "Signature Series" conga drum and bongo made by Latin Percussion, and along with fellow Santana percussionist Karl Perazzo, recently completed the CD "Just Another Day In The Park," and the video/interactive DVD "Supernatural Rhythm and Grooves," where students and fans can play along with Raul's magical beats.