Born and raised in San Francisco, California, Abel was given his first guitar as a Christmas present by his grandmother at age 10. Music has been a passion and important part of his life since. By age 15 Abel became involved in music as a bandleader, guitarist, and songwriter. Since those early beginnings and early teen years back in the 1960s he has led his band Abel & The Prophets to what is now their 50th year anniversary in 2015.
This journey has taken Abel and his bands from the early beginnings of practicing in family garages to major concert appearances with major artists of this era. Because of these experiences, Abel recognizes that exposure to or involvement in music and the arts can make an amazing difference in ones life. Something that he is extremely grateful for and he is dedicated to finding ways to ensure that the youth of today at least have the opportunity or be given the chance to explore the music and the arts.
In the late 60s his band became one of San Francisco’s premier house bands opening many of the Bay Area hot spot nightclubs and packing the house with their soulful sounds. As a result of growing up in the southeast area of San Francisco, Soul music, as it was called back in the day, was the DNA of his music. Ultimately, the diversity of all the sounds and music happening in the bay area during those times, became reflected in his works.
It wasn’t until his association with Jorge Santana in the early 70s that Abel began to explore the Latin Rock and various influences of his ancestors. Abel says he feels he was introducing Jorge to Funk from the southeast side of San Francisco and Jorge was introducing Abel to Latin Rock born primarily in the Mission district of San Francisco ! They have been collaborating as song writers and joining each others bands as guests ever since. This has been an association and friendship for over 40 years. One might say that the collaboration of writing Song for Cesar is the fruit of years of jamming, writing music, and experiencing life together as friends and fellow Latinos.
In 1970 his band Abel was signed to Fantasy Records and recorded their first album entitled Please World. While it received considerable airplay here in the U.S., it did much better in Europe, reaching the charts in France, Spain, Italy, and Sweden. The band toured through the 70s and into the early 80s.
Abel took a hiatus from music and the road to raise a family and begin a career with the US Postal Service. During this hiatus he went on to earn a masters degree at the University of San Francisco in Human Resources and Organizational Development.
Having been raised in a culturally diverse city such as San Francisco, during the 1960s, a critical era of social change, Abel became acutely aware of the importance of social justice and equality for all people in this nation. In addition to his musical endeavors, he became very interested in the arena of social justice and equal opportunity. Subsequently in his career with the US Postal Service his positions were mainly under the umbrella of affirmative actions and civil rights programs, specifically, Hispanic Programs Manager, Equal Opportunity Investigator, and ultimately Diversity Development Manger.
While working in the field of affirmative action and diversity, he connected with the Cesar Chavez family and foundation. This developed as a result of initiating a national campaign that petitioned for the enactment of a US Postal stamp in honor of Cesar Chavez.
That was the beginning of what later transpired to be the inspiration and the writing of Song for Cesar and ultimately the documentary of the same title. It was the combination of all his past experience that became the catalyst for leading Abel back to dedicating his time, life, and passion, to a return to music and performing. Also to utilize the gift of the arts and his experience and involvement in social justice to teach younger generations that they too can make a difference and contribute in making the world a better place for all.
Currently, Sanchez devotes his time to co-producing the Song for Cesar Documentary, songwriting and coordinating soundtrack for the film. He also has returned to leading his band Abel & the Prophets, and directing the Si Se Puede All Star Revue (a band of legendary musicians) who perform at all events surrounding the release and promotion of the documentary.