Amera – Lead Vocalist

Amera, the captivating lead vocalist and percussionist of the six-piece tribute band Very Santana, mesmerises audiences with her soulful voice and rhythmic prowess. With roots in church worship groups and collaborations with funk, soul, and blues bands, her musical journey is diverse and dynamic.

As a singer-songwriter and top liner, Amera’s talent extends beyond vocals, seamlessly transitioning between roles within and outside the band. Her academic achievements include a master’s degree in commercial songwriting and production from TileYard College London, complemented by a Grade 8 vocal qualification from Trinity College London.

In addition to her musical expertise, Amera brings a wealth of linguistic and cultural knowledge to the band, holding a degree in Modern Languages and fluency in Spanish. This perfectly complements the Spanish and Latin-influenced repertoire of Santana’s iconic songs.

Offstage, Amera dedicates her time to aiding trauma survivors through her innovative business, leveraging her songwriting and creative skills. Her commitment to making a difference extends to her work within the criminal justice system, collaborating with agencies to positively impact society.

Raised in a musical household, Amera’s journey into music began at the age of 11, composing songs and playing piano by ear. Her talent has earned her recognition, including appearances on BBC radio and supporting slots for esteemed acts like Soul II Soul.

Amera’s unwavering commitment to her craft, coupled with her dedication to making a difference through music, linguistics, and community engagement, solidifies her as an indispensable force within the Very Santana tribute band and beyond.

James – Drummer

James discovered the joy of hitting drums around 1997, and spent the next decade jamming and hitting everything as hard as he could in West Wales.

He decided to make his teenage dream come true in 2006 and packed his (drum) bags for London. He studied music at UWL and learned the tools of the trade, Latin percussion, and how to play without breaking 3 pairs of sticks every rehearsal.

Between 2010 and 2019 James worked with several Heavy Metal and Rock bands in London and the Midlands, hitting just as hard, but in a more professional manner.

In 2019 James found his new musical family with Very Santana, where he was relieved to find Latin Rock could be played LOUD!

Matt – Pianist / FOH sound

It was a cold miserable day in Dudley town centre. Scratch that…. Every day was miserable in the West Midlands. However, shining and gleaming through the local cash convertor’s window was a most peculiar thing. It had 61 keys and over 1,000 sounds. I was 8 years old at the time and there wasn’t a day that went by where I found myself entranced and mesmerised by this instrument. My mom thought it was another phase I was going through. I was already on my second power ranger within a space of 3 months because robocop, Teletubbies and toys out of cereal boxes weren’t cool anymore.

A few weeks passed and I still couldn’t stop looking at this keyboard. Realising that this wasn’t going to go away, my mom reluctantly entered the shop. The moment she crossed the door she was soon to be subject to the most annoying noises for years to come. As soon as I switched it on I was addicted. However, there was a catch. This keyboard would be a Christmas and birthday present and I would have to take lessons. Being 8 years old this was a hard decision. The unfortunate reality that Santa Claus, who was the bringer of all joy and happiness, was also a mastermind of limited choice. To my mom’s shock and horror, the keyboard won.

Fast forward a few years and I was excelling in my lessons, smashing through music theory grades, and even playing along to the hi-fi and tv downstairs. By the age of 10 I did my first little mini group concert performance and was already playing the piano in my local primary school. Then came the time to go to high school. For the first few months I didn’t tell anyone that I played an instrument for the fear of being uncool.

However, after a few months in music class and the countless torture of kids pressing the ‘DJ’ button on the keyboards I disappeared off into one of the music rooms and started to play the piano. By this time I was writing my own songs but never knowing where or how they would sit with others. And then, by pure luck I met another Music teacher. His name was Jon Pye and where I am today, I owe fully to him. Jon taught me so much about music and how to play in a band. Music could be more fun and it wasn’t just about reading music. Within 3 months I wrote and recorded my first song and played it in a band at the school rock and pop concert.

The great thing about playing in any band is that you become part of a universal language, you feed off others creativity to create something truly magical and unique. I was quite fortunate to be part of Sandwell’s gifted and talented musical network. Throughout the whole of high school I was playing on open air concerts, collaborating and writing with other musicians, and having weekends away making music at Ingestre hall. This where I learnt about music production and recording. Before you know it I was featuring on numerous albums, and getting radio time with songs created by other students. Additionally, I took advantage of free music lessons playing every instrument I could get my hands on. There wasn’t a week that went by where I was coming home with a different instrument or piece of music gear in hand. The only one I wasn’t allowed was a drum kit, simply because there was no space with all the other keyboards and instruments. But my second love was playing guitar. Nothing beats the feeling of having your amp cranked and feeling the strings vibrate through your whole body! But, my main instruments are keys, guitar and drums.

Again, fast forward, by this point, a lot of years I find myself still doing music with my music teacher and friends, trying to play every gig possible and still getting featured on local radio with my music teacher’s band! One aspect of networking through music is you just never know who you might meet.

A great highlight was when I first met Rolly. At the time he was with Amera and trying to form a funk/soul band. I can absolutely state he is a crazy guy but something about his work ethic and commitment drawn me towards him! I remember one day where he called me and said “we are supporting Soul 2 Soul”. One thing you learn pretty quickly in the music world is how far some musicians delusions of grandeur extend! But sure enough it happened, and I knew he wasn’t messing about!

Over the last decade I’ve worked on numerous projects with Rolly whilst playing in other bands. Then sure enough by fate I was rang again by Rolly who wanted to put a Santana tribute band together! I’d never done anything like this before, so really wanted to push the boat out! Adding to it the other members who were joining I also knew for a long time from a previous band project! From that point the venues just kept getting bigger and bigger, and of course the gear too! More importantly we have become a family, watching each other’s family grow and just enjoying the whole process all the way! I think that’s what makes it work, we all have a musical chemistry, and every gig is a damn good time!!! Luckily, The guys don’t get too annoyed when I stop a song and can tell who’s out of tune, playing the wrong chords, or, change the complete structure of a song! 😂😂😂

Niki – Percussionist

Niki always had a funny relationship with guitars 🙃


Niki guitar
Niki guitar

Ever since childhood, she was very much into everything to do with guitars; including guitar-lead music, guitar heroes, the physics of guitars, the beauty of acoustic and electric guitars. She has always been captivated by the concept of wood and strings. Yet, she never really had the patience to learn to play it properly.

Marrying a guitarist

Niki guitar set up
Niki guitar set up

Move forward a couple of years, she ended up marrying a guitarist, working as a luthier/ guitar tech in their family owned guitar webshop, and playing congas in Very Santana 😆

This proved the easiest way to keep as close proximity with guitars in her life as possible.


But back to the Congas. Niki always had a soft spot for latin music – especially ones with lots of guitars in – for as long as she can remember 🙃 She enjoyed playing along with the percussion sections for years as a hobby. She loved joining free playing sessions on out door hippie festivals & hit her bongos around the camp fire.

When the idea came about to create a Santana tribute band the choice was obvious to make Niki the percussion player. She started to take her percussion skills more serious in 2019. To kick start her formal learning, she hired a well known percussion teacher in Budapest & took lessons from him. Ever since, she has been taking lessons eagerly online and in person in the UK too.

In the meantime, Niki doubled the value of her percussion lessons and practice sessions. She started to include Nina too in the rehearsals, whilst still carrying her in her belly. Niki and Rolly maintains it was the perfect time for Nina to start her musical education in the womb.

Niki has taken 1 year gap from the band, whilst their daughter was born. But since she is back in the band, Niki enjoys both her lifelong percussion learning process and performing with the band.

“It’s not only an honour to be able to perform with such talented band mates, but touring with this lot, is like going in mini holidays with your best friends every weekend!”

And as an added bonus, touring as a family unit, with her husband Rolly, and their little one Nina, fulfils their passion for music, gives them freedom, and provides the best musical education they are meant to pass on to the next generation.

“Music is (our) Life !”

Rolly – Guitarist

13th October 1978 was a dark, cloudy Friday when Rolly was born. The little, quiet and peaceful Hungarian wine-making town has become a much noisier place ever since! As Rolly was growing up there were mainly 2 things he was interested in: football (his dad was a professional football player and his younger brother became a pro football player too) and guitars.

He realised quite early that he is not good enough for a pro football career and his younger brother is much more talented. So there was really one route for him: guitar!

When Rolly was around 8-10, Hungary was still behind the “Iron Curtain”, and rock music was considered the music of “evil western society”. As a lifelong rebel, he knew exactly how to provoke social and political norms. The more aware he became what he shouldn’t do, the more he felt drawn towards the “evil music”.

He went to the local music school where he was told: guitar is too noisy and rock music / rock guitar is part of the “imperialist declining western society” and “you son, should choose a nicer instrument such as trumpet”. So instead of a music school he had to rely on his ears and some illegally sold American / British guitar magazines…

Learning the guitar wasn’t easy, especially because his first guitar was a very cheap and bad quality “electric guitar”, that was Made in USSR. It didn’t have a particularly sound and the health & safety standards weren’t too high either… Perhaps Rolly got an electric shock but he started to progress quite fast and kept picking things up quickly!

He felt it was time, so he asked her Mum to buy him a FENDER STRATOCASTER. One like the real rockstars played on! So little Rolly and his Mum walked into the only musical instrument shop in their little poor town. They quickly realised that a Fender Stratocaster costed more than the salary of the whole family all together… Plus they were told “it’s made in the declining, imperialist, western part of the world”,  a product that you should avoid… So they left a shop with only an outdated Fender Catalogue… Oh boy, was he was devastated leaving that music shop?!  But he kept reading through that Fender catalogue every night! It became his absolute favourite “book”.

Years gone by, he got himself a bit better guitar and kept on learning things on it…

Around the age of 20 he made a brave and risky decision. Hungary wasn’t part of the EU so it was very hard to get a work visa. He however applied for a job in Germany started working there. For the first time in his life he made a decent salary. Can you guess what he spent his first salary on? A white real Fender Stratocaster guitar!!!! That moment was a complete life changer. He got hooked more than ever, and he decided to form or find a band!

He moved back to Budapest where the music scene was a lot better than his little wine making home town. He applied through an advert in a local magazine for a well established band, who was looking for a guitarist. He went to the audition and he played really really badly compared to the other 2 members of the band. They were 10 years older and musically highly educated… Even though Rolly was very bad on the guitar compared to the skills of the other 2 but, they liked him as a person. They saw a bit of talent, and a lot of reliability and hard working skills in him… So they told him: we can take you on board if you take lessons from the best (most famous and infamous) guitar teacher in the country.

Rolly was ultra keen and happy. He made a phone call to “Mr best guitar teacher”. In the first 5 minutes of his first real guitar lesson, the teacher showed a little easy funk rhythm guitar lick (kinda like a James Brown style funky guitar rhythm playing) just to check Rolly’s natural timing. He then asked Rolly to play it back. When Rolly played it back the teacher just said: “Son it’s never too late to sell your guitar. There is a guitar shop at the corner please just walk in and sell your guitar”. Rolly was shocked to the core, but the teacher continued: or go home, practice this lick with a metronome (he still has that old school wooden metronome, and he still practices a lot with it) for a week and come back!

Fortunately Rolly opted for the latter option. He went home and practiced the hell out of that lick. One week later when he went back the teacher said: “Son it’s never too late to sell your guitar. There is a guitar shop at the corner please just walk in and sell your guitar!” Rolly never gives up, so he went home and practised even more…

After a few weeks they started working well together and Rolly learnt fast. They got on well and Rolly had been taking lessons from the most infamous / famous guitar teacher of the country for years…He learned Funk music (that was needed for that band), Blues, Rock and a bit of Jazz. He was introduced to the music of Robben Ford, Larry Carlton, Carlos Santana, George Benson and John Scofield. They are still to this day, his biggest influences! These legendary players and Rolly’s band mates taught him how to practice on the guitar every day and how to learn things effectively.

In the meantime the band became successful and could play some great shows including mainstream TV shows, festivals all around the country and also got some opportunities to play some mini tours in Europe. By then, the Iron Curtain fell, Hungary joined the EU so everything became easier for musicians.

One of these European mini tours brought the band to the UK. They played fantastic club gigs all around the country. On one of these gigs a Mansfield / Nottingham based music management saw them and offered them cooperation. So the band moved its base to Mansfield and for 2 years they toured the UK successfully. However later, the band split up and the 2 other members moved back to Hungary while Rolly decided to stay in the UK.

Rolly - Guitarist - Very SantanaRolly moved to Birmingham and started a 3 years Music Production Course at Staffordshire University. He really loved this course and he learned a lot about song writing, studio techniques and leading a band. Even more importantly, he met some great musicians. He formed a band called Rolly’s Syndicate, recorded an original album and played around with the songs. This was the time when he met Amera (singer of Very Santana) and they became really good friends and band mates.


Rolly also became a session guitarist / music producer of a very talented, fantastic singer who was a Hungarian X-Factor finalist and they played some amazing shows together.


This was the time when Rolly launched his online guitar shop / community / Youtube channel etc… that over the years became a very successful business (

One day Rolly and Amera had a discussion in the car on the way back home from a gig about their love of Carlos Santana’s music. As this was one of the biggest influences for Rolly he had this idea about forming a tribute band that delivers Carlos’s music all around the UK.

He however, wanted to do this with a twist. So unlike many tribute bands he never really wanted to copy the original artist exactly, as it’s kinda impossible anyway. But instead, taking the “influence” and combine it with his and his talented band member’s creativity. Rolly wanted to play the songs with the classic Jazz Standard approach. This way, the original songs provide the skeleton, but a lot of unique creative ideas to be added to the already sensational music.

For instance, adding improvisations where the band members can combine their personal talent with Carlos’s masterful music, where the music allows of course. So with these elements, the show always stays fresh as there are surprises every time when someone comes back to see the band.

As you can imagine, it needed a lot of work to build up this idea. Long hours spent in the rehearsal room with the whole band. Even just learning each original song, is quite challenging on each instrument. The songs are musically complex and skilfully played, and it takes a long time to master them as close as possible. Then adding the icing on the cake with each musician’s unique twist, took even more time and practicing.

Another important goal was “MAKING IT REAL”! This means there’s no autotune, no edits, no overdubs, no AI, nothing “artificial”. Real musicians playing live, really good. As analog, vintage and “REAL” as possible just like Santana, the Master himself, and his brilliant musicians, back in the days.  This includes the videos that they produce too. No auto-tune, no overdubs, 100% live – unlike most of the bands!

And hey it’s working! After a year of initial work, the 3 years of touring (and surviving the effect of Covid-19) most of the shows are “sold out”…

In the meantime Rolly’s Guitars have been growing nicely. Rolly’s wife, Niki also joined the business as a guitar luthier. Niki had been helping Rolly setting up, repairing the guitars for many many years so she has learned a lot about them during that time.

And a few years ago everything has changed again in Rolly’s life, but in a good way: Nina was born! She is already a real artist with amazingly strong personality 🙂 So life is beautiful and little Nina, Niki and Rolly touring the UK with Very Santana. And when they are not on the road, they still work with guitars, selling, setting up, and repairing guitars for their beloved family run business: Rolly’s Guitars.

Steve – Bassist

Having achieved grade 5 on the cello at the age of nine ten, being a child of the 70s I decided it was ‘cissy’ and gave up.

I’d always loved Motown, reggae, 70s disco, ska, as well as Rush , Iron Maiden, Motörhead, only in later life I realized it was the I was drawn to the bass in these genres.

Then real life took over: relationships, job, mortgage etc so I didn’t pick a bass until I was 28 and basically learned by playing along to my favourite tracks & jamming with mates for a couple of years, I went to watch Rock band and thought ‘I could do that’ and cheekily asked the singer if they were looking for a bass player.

12 months later I got the call and my journey to Very Santana began, during the intervening years I’ve played in various bands ranging from Heavy Rock , Pop, Reggae & Ska, which I feel has prepared me for the music of Santana…..