Raphael is a Vermont-based multi- instrumentalist and composer. His musical styles span the globe, from classical and sacred music, to the roots of the Americas and the sounds of the East. As a recording artist, Raphael has received critical acclaim for his acoustic recordings produced by Will Ackerman. Raphael released his first self-produced album, “Potential,” in September, 2021.
Raphael was born into a family where music always seemed to be at the forefront. His father’s sizable jazz and classical vinyl collection, with a particular emphasis on bossa nova and Latin jazz, was central to his childhood experience.
With those recordings reverberating in his ears, the alto sax was an obvious choice when he joined the school band in grade 4. As Raphael grew, so did his saxophone preference, and the alto evolved into tenor sax for grades 7 through 10.
Raphael added guitar at age 13, learning basic chords and fingerpicking from his mother and sister. While still in high school, he became immersed in folk music, composing over 100 songs by the end of his freshman year in college, often collaborating with friends on lyrics.
Raphael progressed to formal studies at the University of Vermont, where he majored in Philosophy and minored in Music. After his graduation, he launched a ten-piece Latin/jazz/funk ensemble, Saudade. The group performed extensively during the late ’90s in Burlington, VT, and released two albums of Raphael’s own compositions.
Even as Raphael was experiencing success with his band, something began to stir inside him that summoned him to see what he could do to effect a positive change in the world. In 1993, while taking a holistic health class, he met his first shamanic teacher. She re- entered his life as a healer and teacher in 2002 after his four-month-old son was involved in a near fatal accident.
Raphael became increasingly aware of the healing power of sound as he played guitar for his son during his first night in intensive care, and the following day, when a therapeutic harpist played for his family. It was in these moments that Raphael was propelled to compose, perform, and eventually record intentional healing music.
Alongside his work with sound healing, Raphael began sharing his love of music. This started as a private guitar teacher and soon included class lessons. For the past two decades he has worked in schools and libraries with children ranging from infants to 8th graders.
Inspired by observing the growth of his own boys and by his training in the work of Maria Montessori, Raphael began, in 2004, to compose music for children and families. His first family music release, Happily Ever Now, as well as his “world medicine groove” release, Potential, are both a testament to his dedication to consciousness and fun.
Raphael credits the beginning of his recording career to his intuition. During his nightly meditation he was guided to email his song “Black River” to Will Ackerman, Windham Hill label founder and owner of Imaginary Road Studios. Acting on this guidance, he emailed Ackerman and asked for assistance in producing his first recording of solo guitar for healing. Ackerman responded the next day and a working friendship was formed. Three months later, Journey Home was recorded at Will’s renowned Imaginary Road Studios.
“Potential” represents the birth of a new genre in Raphael’s music – one he calls “world medicine groove.” Listeners can expect an entirely new soundscape as he shares many unusual instruments and unique styles.
A further evolution into Raphael’s instrumental and vocal sound, Potential is broad and dynamic, offering guitar to ukulele, percussion to gong, bamboo flute to kalimba and hand pan to a chorus of voices.
This album marks the milestone of being entirely composed, arranged, performed, produced and engineered by Raphael in his newly established Humming Bird Studio.