BIOGRAPHY

Biography

Rafael/ Rafael & Energía Dominicana
Singer, Songwriter, Producer (SOCAN)
Montréal-Québec, Canada- Bani, Dominican Republic

Rafael (Wilsikin Medina) is a Montreal based singer, songwriter, bandleader and producer, born in Bani, Dominican Republic, an hour’s drive south of Santo Domingo. Bani has been called the city of poets, and is known as one of the Dominican Republic’s cradle of baseball: many of its sons have gone on to play major league such as Miguel Tejada, Vladimir Guerrero, Cristian Guzman, and Erick Aybal.

Rafael performs and composes different genres of Latin music repertoire, but he is known mostly as a merenguero and bachatero, as composer and interpreter of music from the Dominican Republic. He started singing when he was 5 years old, in school and at church. Rafael is from a family of 11 brothers and sisters- he got his love of music from his mother, Orquidia Arias, who used to sing on Bani radio ‘La Voz del Sur. Rafael’s father, Patricio Medina, was an Agricultor. Rafael helped his father with the land and also worked in carpentry. Rafael was inspired by musicians such as José José, Emmanuel, and Pedro Fernandez with his song ‘La Mochila Azul’. Rafael is inspired by Fernando Villalona ‘El Mayimbe’, Sergio Vargas and Alex Bueno because of their great talent, charisma and character.

Rafael was a back up vocalist with Dominican bands such as Zona Libre, but he mostly dedicated himself to writing his own songs. When he first arrived in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, he met Kuky Carbuccia, the Musical Director of Montreal’s Estofa Band and Rafael became the group’s lead singer. Estofa Band performed in many theatres, festivals and clubs in Montreal and Toronto, including opening act performances for renowned groups such as Aventura, Grupo Mania, Monchy & Alexandra and Toño Rosario. Estofa Band recorded a compact disc that featured Rafael’s vocals and composition work. Rafael has composed music for other artists: two of Rafael’s compositions, ‘La Colegiala’ and ‘Nena’ appear on EMI-Virgin recording artist Papa AP’s compact disc ‘Assessina’.

Rafael has performed as a lead and/or guest vocalist with a variety of Latin music ensembles at festivals and venues in Quebec such as Chicoutimi, Magog, and Mont Tremblant, as well as at a variety of Dominican Republic community events and festivals including the Festival International del Merengue de Montreal. Rafael sang back up vocals for international touring artists Cuco Valoy, Aramis Camilo, Charlie Rodriguez, Benny Sadel and Sandy Reyes during their Montreal appearances. In 2008, Rafael embarked on a solo career as a bandleader with his live orchestra 'Rafael & Energia Dominicana': performances include the historic Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympics/Paralympics-Whistler Live; Le Festival International Nuits D’Afrique, La TOHU-La Falla, Festival International Rythmes de Monde du Saguenay, Calgary Expo Latino, and for a variety of events with the Bureau de Tourisme République Dominicaine in Montreal. In 2011, Rafael was invited to perform on the Quebec television musical variety show, Belle et Bum, for their 25th Anniversary special. Rafael performs in a duo formation with the renowned Montreal-Haitian guitarist, Toto Laraque: 'Toto & Rafael: Sentimiento’. Toto & Rafael have performed live to air on Radio Canada Internacional, and concert appearances include Cordes a Cordes Series of Les Productions Nuits D'Afrique, and concerts for Haitian Earthquake Relief. Rafael does ongoing volunteer work with Sun Youth-Jeunesse au Soleil of Montreal, Heritage Home Rehabilitation Centre in Huntington, Quebec. He has also performed in support of the Canadian Cancer Association’s Relay for Life event.

In 2010, Rafael & Energía Dominicana's debut independent song, the ballad 'Sembrando Amor’, and still in demo format,  held the #1 chart position for 10 consecutive weeks at the Montreal Spanish language tropical radio program on MIKE-FM: 'Romanticos with Kiko & Dany'. In 2013, Rafael & Energía Dominicana was in studio recording their debut album, and also eleased a debut single "Bailame", an original merengue with a contemporary popular sound- it was the #1 song on the Top 20 Chart at Radio CKXL FM in Manitoba, Canada  for 3 consecutive weeks. The song was the first single from the debut full length album Enamorarse en la playa, released on November 19, 2013, on Montreal record label Vivo Musique, and distributed by DEP Distribution Ltd./Universal Music Canada/Believe Digital-Numérique

 In the summer of 2014 Vivo Musique was pleased to announce some exciting summer activities for Rafael & Energía Dominicana, Enamorarse en la playa. The orchestra performed at The Montreal International Jazz Festival on June 27, 2014, The Festival International Nuits d’Afrique, on July 17, 2014 and released a new single and debut video clip for the song “Margarita”,  an original composition by Rafael in the bomba style with an infectious groove and with roots in the traditions of Porto Rico. The video was directed by Vincent Egret, whose clips include the mega-hit “Danza Kuduro” by Don Omar featuring Lucenzo, (a clip that has obtained over 550 million views on YouTube) as well as videos for Florence K., Florent Pagny, Natasha St. Pier, Big Ali, Bonnie Tyler, Mellowman, Dubmatique, Rainmen, and Qbanito.

These activities mark a period of achievement for Rafael, an artist often referred to as a fighter, or in Spanish, a luchador - he is a passionate performer who never gave up his dream to present his music to the world. He is forever attached to his roots, and produced Enamorarse en la playa with his culture at heart, combined with creating an essence of a place he loves the most: the dance floor. Rafael says: "Dreams come true when you have faith in God, you persevere and work tirelessly. It is never too late to achieve your goals. I say this with much humility, but also proudly, to present our Latin music and my country, the Dominican Republic, and grateful to God for the blessings. I am super excited…OYE KE LINDO SUENAAAA!”

 Website: www.rafaelenergia.com
Video YouTube “Margarita”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mye_OqrIzeM
Album - Soundcloud (Free streaming) Enamorarse en la playa: 
https://soundcloud.com/vivo-musique/sets/rafael-energia-dominicana
Album - iTunes: Enamorarse en la playa:
https://itunes.apple.com/ca/artist/rafael-energia-dominicana/id594946380
Facebook Rafael: http://facebook.com/rafael.artista 
Facebook Album Page: https://www.facebook.com/rafaelenergiadom
Twitter: https://twitter.com/rafaelenergia

Rafael supports:
Sun Youth/Jeunesse au Soleil
de Montréal http://sunyouthorg.com/en/
Sobriety Home Foundation http://www.sobriety.ca/

Contact for further information & bookings:
Glenda Rush, Mob: 1(514) 591-5406, Off: 1(514) 276-6870
glendavivo@sympatico.ca
Vivo Musique (Media Relations, Record Label, Artist Management)
Montréal, Québec, CANADA H2S 3C3
http://www.vivomusique.com