I'm happy to announce that my album "Trova Caminhada" received a top-rated review on German's leading HiFi magazine "Stereo", and was considered "Audiophiles Highlight of the month".
English translation of the text follows.
During the High-End Show in Munich, we were addressed by three gentlemen from the Netherlands, to present their studio TRPTK, founded in 2014, together with showing some of their music productions.
To our remark they might have been better off at a music convention, recording and mastering engineer Brendon Heinst says that TRPTK actually distinguishes itself through the ultimate sound quality they pursue. From the early beginnings of the studio, all recordings were taken care of in the PCM standard of 352.8 kHz 32 bits.
It's only due to the large mixing console on the photograph of the very domestic-looking mix/mastering room on the website of TRPTK, that keeps you from thinking it could as well have been a very high-end hi-fi listening room.
Five KEF Blades surround the engineer and are engineered to make the best surround productions as possible. The amplification comes from Hegel in Norway, and for cabling, TRPTK trusts the Japanese specialist Furutech.
In their demo package, the gentlemen added three CDs to try out. All of them sound excellent, but could be musically challenging. This, however, doesn't count for the magnificent album from the Portuguese composer, singer and guitarist Rafael Fraga, where he gives his 14 best songs. His buttery smooth but clear voice was recorded very truthfully. The three dimensionality and lifelikeness of the recording without any digital artefacts raises all sorts of new standards. A masterpiece!
Aside from CDs, just like any other TRPTK production, all albums can also be purchased for a fair price at trptk.com, in seven different PCM and DSD resolutions.
Well, go ahead, here's something to be explored!
The upcoming edition of InJazz is an opportunity for industry professionals to connect, network and get acquainted with new music and projects.
Through "Matchmaking" we will have the opportunity to discuss specific strategies and get feedback from programmers, bookers, label owners, etc.
June 28-29 in Rotterdam
"Trova Caminhada" is already available for download and pre-order here.
The album comprises 14 of my original songs, written between 1999 and 2016. The recording took place in July 2017, and the release is by Dutch label TRPTK.
The line-up is:
Rafael Fraga (vocals, guitars), Aki Spadaro (piano, keyboard), Efraim Schulz-Wackerbarth (drums, percussion) and Marko Bonarius (double bass). The guests strings were Aili Deiwiks (violin) and Maya Fridman (cello).
Brendon Heinst was the engineer, assisted by Luuk Meijssen.
Fado at DeHallen - free mini-concerts
The nostalgia and beauty of Portuguese Fado will makes it appearance at DeHallen, in an innovative format: mini-concerts with free entrance.
The Beeldend Gesproken art gallery will be the stage of this unique matinee, hosted by Portuguese guitarist Rafael Fraga and having the special participation of Emanuel Pessanha, lead singer of the acclaimed band “Quatro Ventos”.
Each concert will take about 30 minutes, being followed by a short break, after which the same program is repeated for a different public. The entrance is free and the audience is invited to donate according to its enjoyment of the show.
Combined with dinner or a movie at DeHallen, the mini Fado concerts will be the perfect complement to a great evening, inviting the audience to an unexpected journey into the soul of Lisbon - at the very heart of Amsterdam!
Location: Beeldend Gesproken art gallery, DeHallen
Schedule: December 10, from 17h to 20h
Price: Free, donations welcome
"Vilas Morenas" is part of my childhood's soundtrack, since with would be repeatedly heard on the local TV. I believe the title (that could be roughly translated as "Tanned villages") evokes José Afonso's freedom hymn "Grândola, vila morena", referring to Grândola, a small village in Alentejo, Portugal.
For technical and timbric reasons I changed the key to D (original: F#), so Eva tuned the low E-string in D, providing extra bass register; the accompaniment is a build-up of open strings and harmonics, which create a dense, mysterious texture. This piece has a north-African flavour and perfectly recalls Portugal's mediterranean roots. Its tense, catchy melody and the pedal-ostinato notes fitted the Portuguese guitar, providing plenty space for improvisation. Besides all this, what I love about this piece is that the in the improvisation section the build-up requires intimate communication, and the result is, of course, always different. I also tried to incorporate some ideas from António's improvisations.
Besides the musical aspects, there's a more personal connection with this tune: with was originally written by António Pinho Vargas, someone I greatly admire, and who played an essential role in my early career. While studying jazz in Lisbon, I was looking for advice on what steps to follow, since I wanted to pursue other interests in music, namely composition, orchestration, etc. In Portugal, at that time (2001), there were not many academic options in those fields in those fields (not even today). António was kind enough to meet me and to share some of his (always) insightful thoughts on the subject - namely that "contemporary classical music" was NOT my world, but that were many things to learn on the side. Later on, he would be my teacher, and inspiring and refreshing presence in my academic years.
And he was right: definitely, contemporary music per se is NOT my world...
Vilas Morenas, as played in "The Mysteries of the Portuguese Guitar":
Vilas Morenas, as played live by António Pinha Vargas' in 1987:
Rafael will be participating in this year's edition of the Akkordeonale, a festival that takes place yearly in Germany. Renowned accordionists join musicians from different cultures for a unique set of concerts, and Rafael will be representing the portuguese guitar, in a tour of more than 25 concerts:
More info at:
(date, city, venue)
23 Karlsruhe Tollhaus
24 Reutlingen franz k
25 Jena Volkshaus
26 Greven Kulturzentrum GBS
27 Mülheim Stadthalle
28 Bonn Harmonie
29 Kassel Adventskirche
30 Stuhr Gutsscheune Varrel
01 Dresden Dreikönigskirche
02 Berlin Passionskirche
03 Koblenz Festung
04 Pforzheim Kulturhaus Osterfeld
05 A-Salzburg Odeion
07 Leipzig Gewandhaus
08 Traunreut k1 Kulturzentrum tbc
09 A-Bregenz Seelax Festival
10 Lörrach Burghof
11 Gersthofen Stadthalle Gersthofen
13 Hamburg Kulturkirche Altona
14 Neustadt Schloss Landestrost
16 Kerpen Erfthalle Kerpen-Türnich
17 Dreieich Bürgerhaus Sprendlingen
18 Trier Tuchfabrik
20 Landau Altes Kaufhaus
21 Mainz SWR live” im SWR Foyer
22 Altenkirchen Stadthalle
23 Laupheim Schloss Großlaupheim
24 Zug Chollerhalle
25 Offenburg Reithalle
Rafael plays for Vesta
Stichting Vesta is dedicated to helping refugee women and their families. Rafael will be collaborating in a fund-raising event, playing with violinist Aili Deiwiks. The repertoire will consist of portuguese music and some of his own tunes.
Café Kabberdoes DeSint Josephstraat 6
5211 NJ 's-Hertogenbosch
March 8, 18h