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

Oye ke lindo suena!

"Rafael & Energía Dominicana can compete with the best worldwide.” - Alain Brunet, La Presse (Montreal)

Rafael (Wilsikin Esteban Medina Arias) is a Montreal, Quebec, Canada 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, and Erick Aybal.

Rafael performs and composes different genres of Latin-tropical music, but he is mostly known as a merenguero and bachatero, as a composer and interpreter of these styles from the Dominican Republic. He started singing when he was 5 years old while at school and at church. Rafael is from a family of 11 brothers and sisters and 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, but he did not like this kind of work because he loved music and just wanted to sing. Rafael was inspired by artists such as José José, Emmanuel, Fernando Villalona ‘El Mayimbe’, Sergio Vargas and Alex Bueno because of their great talent, charisma and character. He sang backup vocals with hometown bands, but a deep stage fright dissuaded him, so he dedicated himself to songwriting.

Rafael left the Dominican Republic in 1988 in search of a better life to help his large family. He travelled to Panama, Mexico, United States and finally landed in Montreal, Canada where he met Kuky Carbuccia, musical director of the Latin orchestra Estofa Band and Kuky hired Rafael as lead singer. Estofa Band opening for many touring artists in Canada such as Aventura, Grupo Mania, Monchy & Alexandra and Toño Rosario. The group recorded an album that featured Rafael’s vocals and compositions. During these years, Rafael composed music for other artists including Papa AP (2 songs on his album ‘Assessina’, Virgin, EMI)  and he  worked as a vocalist/back up vocalist for a variety of international touring artists during their Montreal appearances such as Cuco Valoy, Aramis Camilo, Charlie Rodriguez, Benny Sadel and Sandy Reyes.

In 2008, while he was performing at Salsatheque, a legendary Latin music club in Montreal, Rafael met Glenda Rush, owner of Vivo Musique Internationale. She was impressed by his baritone-like voice, songwriting, and his passionate interpretations of classic Dominican merengues from the Golden Era of the 1980’s. Glenda filmed rehearsals and performances and submitted these demos to a variety of industry colleagues and festivals in Canada- the orchestra Rafael & Energía Dominicana was born. Since that time, the group has performed at a variety of high profile festivals and events across Canada that include The Montreal International Jazz Festival, The 2015 Pan American Games Toronto, The Festival International Nuits d’Afrique, Vancouver 2010 Cultural Paralympic Games, Calgary Expo Latino, Edmonton Latin Fiesta, Saskatoon World & Reggae Festival, Festival International des Rythmes du Monde de Saguenay, and for a variety of events with the Dominican Republic Tourism Board. In 2016, Rafael & Energía Dominicana opened for Latin music mega stars Gente de Zona at L’Olympia de Montreal. 

At the end of 2013, Rafael & Energía Dominicana released the debut album Enamorarse en la playa in Canada (Vivo Musique/ Universal Music Canada). The album includes thirteen original compositions by Rafael from different Latin music genres such as merengue, bachata, salsa, bomba and balada, and was produced by Rafael, Pascal Laraque and Kuky Carbuccia and with Jesus Alejandro El Niño and Chris Perry. The album continues to receive critical acclaim and airplay including 8 x songs programmed on Stingray Music’s Latino Tropical stations in Latin America, Europe and Canada. In September 2015, Rafael received a Premios Latinos Canada Award for “Merengue of the Year” for his composition, the intensely energetic and manic-merengue “Tirando Duro”. While still in its demo format, the balada 'Sembrando Amor’ held the #1 chart position for 10 weeks at Montreal’s MIKE-FM/'Romanticos with Kiko & Dany.  The single "Bailame", an original merengue with a contemporary sound was the #1 song at Radio CKXL FM in Manitoba for 3 weeks. Rafael released a debut video clip for the bomba “Margarita”, a song with an infectious groove with roots in the traditions of Porto Rico. It was directed by Vincent Egret, whose clips include the mega-hit “Danza Kuduro” by Don Omar featuring Lucenzo.

Rafael, an artist often referred to as a fighter, or in Spanish, a luchador, 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. In December of 2016, Rafael Wilsikin Medina became a permanent resident of Canada and his global musical journey began. This is timely celebrated with Rafael & Energía Dominicana’s Enamorarse en la playa May 2017 release on the renowned world music label, ARC Music, the original pioneers in world music for more than 30 years and who were the first to put folk & world music on CD in the 1980’s.  Rafael always believed that dreams come true and it is never too late to achieve your goals “when you have faith in God, you persevere and work tirelessly: I am so proud to have this opportunity to share my Latin music with the world. Oye ke lindo suenaaaa!”

Video YouTube “Margarita”:
Facebook:  Rafael & Energía Dominicana (Group/Artist Page)
Facebook: Rafael (Direct page)

Rafael does ongoing volunteer work: Sun Youth-Jeunesse au Soleil, Montreal, Quebec  Heritage Home Rehabilitation Centre, Huntington, Quebec

Contact: Glenda Rush, Manager, mob: +1(514) 591-5406,
Vivo Musique Internationale, 6363 boulevard Saint Laurent, Suite #212, Montréal, Québec, CANADA H2S 3C3