"Extremely talented musician with an innate ability to entertain."
- Devin G. from Pottstown, PA ON 7/29/2017
"This band is amazing and charismatic!"
- Denisha J. from Malvern, PA on 9/22/2017
"Your cd is a work of art... This album deserves the best independent album of the year. I been jamming to it since i been back. We got to get you a show in Atlanta....pls support Rafa Ponde "Afrikabahia" beautiful album in Portuguese...."
- DJ Barry Walker from Atlanta
Rafael Pondé is a visionary passionate about music from around the world, especially Afrodiasporic music. He recorded 8 albums and collaborated with several artists: among them, the producer Hans Martin Buff (Prince, Joss Stone , Scorpions), the Grammy-winning American pianist Bill Anschell, the Brazilian band Natiruts and the band El Caribe funk (Colombia), among others. He is the author of the song "Sorriso de Flor" recorded by In Natura and the song "Princesa do cerrado recorded by Natiruts, among other Brazilian musical pearls. Among the highlights, he had his album "Sorriso de Flor" recorded in Hanover in Germany by German label “Peppermint Park” (Produced by Hans Martin Buff 2009).
His musical performances and teaching projects are full of knowledge about Brazilian culture. Songs written by him such as, Revolta dos Malês (Rafael Pondé, ÁTOMOS ,PALAVRAS,CANÇÕES, 2004) and Miscigenação ( NINGUÉM ESTÁ A SALVO, Rafael Pondé and Duda Diamba, 2000) are used in classrooms at schools throughout Brazil, by its great content of information about Brazilian history and culture. Rafa's songs contain lyrics with strong spiritual messages and a high positive vibration.
He is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter and music producer. His live performances feature a hybrid of rhythms, varying across different strands of Brazilian and world music. Born in Salvador, Bahia (Brazil), Rafa received two awards to represent Brazil in the USA, where he currently resides for part of the year.
THE MUSICAL CAREER
As a child, Rafael Pondé did not understand why D. Maria, his grandmother, kept a trunk next to the closet with so much affection. At the age of 11, with the death of his grandmother, he inherited that trunk and discovered that there was a musical message in it: an accordion, which she had played in her youth. Rafa never learned to play it, but he understood the message... As a teenager, he chose the guitar and began to express the lyrics that popped into his head.
Rafael’s musical heritage is also marked in an even older musical testament, his great-uncle, Humberto Porto, a composer from the radio era in Brazil, already addressed Afro-Bahian culture in songs such as “Na Bahia” and “História de amor”, both recorded by Trio de Ouro. Humberto was recorded in the 1930s by Carmem Miranda, Dalva de Oliveira, Orlando Silva, Chico Alves, among other great performers of the time. He was also one of the pioneers in the musical genre Lamento and had his greatest success in the Carnival song “A jardineira”.
In 1996, together with colleagues from the business school, Rafa formed the band Diamba, which achieved great success in Bahia and today is one of the reference bands in Brazil, in the Reggae style. With Diamba, Rafa recorded and co-produced the album “Ninguém está a salva (2000), a record that is a landmark for Brazilian Reggae.
In 1999, alongside his work with Diamba, he formed the band Curupira, with which he participated in the University Festival of Music of Bahia by UESB in Vitória da Conquista. At this festival, he won the blessing of Waly Salomão (a Poet from the important Tropicalia movement), who had a positive impact on the band with praiseworthy notes in newspapers, in which he classified them as a generation of “Novíssimos Baianos”. Waly took Curupira to São Paulo in 1999, to record on the program “Música Brasileira”, at the Trama studios of João Marcelo Bôscoli, son of Elis Regina.
In 2004, already as a solo artist, he recorded his first solo album “Atomos, palavras canções ”. A remix of the song “Sorriso de flor”, the ninth track on this album, was made in partnership with DJ Roots and reached the top of the Drum and Bass charts in London, staying for a year among the best-selling songs on the British label Innerground records. The remix is among the five best-selling tracks on this label, which is one of the biggest drum and bass labels in the world.
In 2005, he went to São Paulo and joined the band Natiruts as a guest guitarist and stayed with the band for two years, playing on the tour for the album “ Nossa missão” (Natiruts 2004).
In 2006, he recorded the solo album “Horizonte vertical” with production by Kezo Nogueira.
In 2007, he recorded the album “Eu e meu violão” with production by Márcio Mello. Pocket shows in Europe become frequent at that time.
In 2009, in Hanover, Germany, he recorded the album “Sorriso de Flor”, his fourth solo album, at Peppermint Park studios. The album was mixed and recorded by Hans Martin Buff, a revered sound engineer who has worked with Prince, Joss Stone and Scorpions, among others. That same year, he played at the Weltkulture festival in Germany, sharing the night with Tony Allen (Fela Kuti's drummer) in July 2009.
In 2010, he returns to Brazil and, already living in Rio de Janeiro, has his life portrayed in the documentary “O Novíssimo Baiano”, directed by Hélio Rodrigues. In 2013, he returns to Bahia and releases his fifth album “Afrikabahia”.
In 2014, he made his first tour of the USA and in 2015 he went on tour together with El Caribe funk (Colombia) in South America with his album UAS (United Americas of Sound).
In 2017, he released the live album “Live at the Boom Room”, recorded live in Philadelphia, USA.
In 2019, he released the album “Nordeste revival”
As a composer, throughout his career he had songs recorded by: Natiruts (DF), Diamba (BA), Lampirônicos (BA), Adão negro (BA), Negra cor (BA), IN Natura (DF), Manitu (MG) , NOSAL (MG), Gustavo Maguá (MG), Claus and Vanessa (RS), Janaína Moreno (RJ), A zorra (BA), Negra cor (BA), Carlos Pitta (BA) among other Brazilian artists.
During the Pandemic, Rafa started releasing a series of singles, which gave rise to his newest work “Brazilian Reggae Experience vol.1” released in April 2023. One of them, the single "Cartagena" in partnership with Melogia was featured on 3 Spotify editorial playlists and has nearly two million views on Spotify. The Cartagena production featured Camilo Parra (Colombia) on flute, Melogia (Porto Rico) on vocals, Raudelis Cisneiros (Cuba) on percussion, Dariel Peniazek (USA) on Tres and Lucas Pondé (Brazil) on bass.
The album “Brazilian Reggae Experience Vol.1 is available on all platforms.