The idea that Carlos Santana could mine the Spanish-language marketplace is one that his label, Arista, and sister label BMG U.S. Latin have toyed with for years.

The idea that Carlos Santana could mine the Spanish-language marketplace is one that his label, Arista, and sister label BMG U.S. Latin have toyed with for years. The latest effort is for "Hoy Es Adios," a Spanish-language track featuring Alejandro Lerner from Santana's 2002 album, "Shaman." It is being actively worked to Spanish-language radio and is currently No. 28 on the Billboard Hot Latin Tracks chart.

A similar route was taken in 2001 with "Primavera," a track from 1999's "Supernatural," redone with vocals by Jerry Rivera. Then, the notion was to sell "Supernatural" in the Latin marketplace and position Santana in the Spanish marketplace in preparation for the release of an all-Spanish album. Two years later, the goals are still the same. But it remains unclear exactly when a Spanish album will be produced.

"There's an invitation for me to work and do a CD with Latin people, and that's inviting," Santana tells Billboard. "I prefer to work with women. But this [track] is a good entrance."

As reported last November, BMG U.S. Latin planned to release a Spanish Santana album in 2003, but Santana's plans seem different. "The Spanish album has been put off because I promised my wife I would stop for a year-and-a-half," he says. "My family is first, middle, and last. Then I work with other people."

Santana, who is Mexican, has sung in Spanish whenever the mood has struck him, since his memorable cover of Tito Puente's "Oye Como Va." But he says the impetus for recording "Hoy Es Adios" was simply the song. Interestingly, whether it does well may not have any bearing at all on what the 55-year-old Santana decides to do next.

There are three possibilities, he says. One is the release of a jazz-oriented CD recorded with Wayne Shorter. A second is an instrumental CD. "And of course," he says, "the next [regular] CD, which will probably be whatever God wants it to be; all-women or all-Spanish."

As previously reported, Santana is donating all proceeds from his summer tour to Artists for a New South Africa (ANSA), which raises funds to fight aids. The trek begins June 11 in Atlanta, with support from Angelique Kidjo.