Latin rockers play to benefit autistic children 

In the age of pop music and celebrity scandal, it’s sometimes easy to forget the impact the arts can make toward charitable causes. Saturday at the Fox Theatre in Redwood City, Bay Area residents will receive a spirited reminder with "Voices of Latin Rock."

"I suggested doing this as a benefit for autism [awareness]," said event organizer Dr. Bernardo Gonzalez, a San Francisco dentist and music promoter. "The first year was unbelievable — that night was just so unreal that people were asking us to do it again."

Organized around a musical style pioneered in the Bay Area, "Voices of Latin Rock" is headlined by the Gregg Rolie Band, with Malo and La Ventana opening.

Rolie co-founded two immensely popular — and wildly dissimilar — San Francisco bands, Journey and Santana.As singer and keyboard player in the original lineup of Santana, Rolie loaned his vocal talents to "Oye Como Va," "Evil Ways" and "Black Magic Woman," a song he also wrote.

"When we put Santana together back in ’66 or ’67, we had no idea what any of this would be, of course," Rolie said. "What we did was start a wave of music that came out of the Mission district. … We were kind of a part of it, and at the same time, we were the leaders in creating a kind of music that has become a classic style."

That style is what Gonzalez and Rolie identify as Latin rock — a mix that blends Latin rhythms, rock ’n’ roll, blues, jazz and psychedelic sounds into a unified whole.

"I really cut my teeth on Latin rock, which really is based on blues and jazz and rhythm — even more than the song, it was based on the vibe of it all," Rolie said. "‘Voices of Latin Rock’ has something to do with my past, and this is a great show, no matter what the reason. The fact that it’s for a good cause just makes it even better."

This year marks the third anniversary of "Voices of Latin Rock." Previous beneficiaries include the Arbor Bay School, which is dedicated to helping special-needs children.

Proceeds from this year’s event benefit the special education department in the San Carlos School District.

If you go

Voices of Latin Rock

Where: Fox Theatre, 2219 Broadway, Redwood City

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

Tickets: $35 to $40

Contact: (650) 366-4119 or

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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