the musicians of Viva Santana


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Arnie Vilches - Guitar, Vocals


Born and raised in Philadelphia, Arnie first picked up the guitar at age 4. He learned to play many types of Latin music at a young age including Brazilian, Flamenco, Salsa & traditional Puerto Rican music. At age 13, he started playing professionally with rock & salsa bands in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. Fusing together rock, salsa and funk influences, he relocated to Southern California and performed extensively throughout the Southwest in clubs, concerts and original bands.

In 1988, he began touring and recording with Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad. Arnie has shared the stage with rock & roll greats such as Cheap Trick, Blue Oyster Cult, Robin Trower, REO Speedwagon, and B.T.O. to name just a few. He has also performed with numerous Christian artists including Phil Keaggy, Margaret Becker and The News Boys. Arnie co-founded the Viva band in 1990 with bassist Chris Guerra and Tom Connor out of his love and appreciation for the music of Carlos Santana which started in the 7th grade when he first heard Black Magic Woman. Santana has been his biggest musical influence ever since. Arnie is also currently touring with the band Two Or More