Rafael Monteagudo (drummer/percussionist/composer) arrived in the US in 2000 from Havana, Cuba. His areas of focus include jazz, funk, fusion, Latin jazz, and Afro-Cuban. He grew up in a neighborhood in Havana that has produced some of the most famous Cuban musicians. The musical traditions in Havana are rich in both popular and folkloric music. it was through sharing the strong African traditions that are inherent in Cuban culture that Rafael gained such a wide range of styles. Rafael continued his studies at the prestigious Escuela Nacional de Arte (ENA) and later at Felix Varela conservatory in Havana. while in Cuba, Mr. Monteagudo had the opportunity to work with some of the best-known Cuban jazz and folkloric groups, including Calle 42, Eddy Mesa, Jazz Quartet Carisma and the Conjunto Folklorico of the University of Havana to name a few. He also performed at various prestigious festivals such as the Havana Jazz festival and Cubadisco. Since Rafael has been in the U.S.,he has performed in prestigious venues and music festivals such as Lincoln Center, Central Park Summer Stage, the Jazz Gallery, Joe's Pub, BANF, Blue Note, Scullers Jazz Club, Jerome L. Greene Space at WNYC, Blues Alley, the Smithsonian Institute, The Kennedy Center, the Green Mill Jazz Club, Aspen Jazz Festival, Cape May Jazz Festival, the Rochester Jazz Festival, the Caramoor Jazz Festival, the Sedona Jazz Festival on the Rocks, the Jerusalem Jazz Festival, Artscape, the Painted Bride Art Center, and the Cherry Blossom Festival among others. He has toured with, Yosvany Terry, Chuchito Valdes, Michele Rosewoman and The Pedrito Martinez Band among others including a performance with iconic songwriter and producer Desmond Child for his induction into the songwriters hall of fame. Rafael has participated in Ricky Martins new musical Cuba Libre, with music and lyrics by Desmond Child and Davitt Sigerson and most recently Rafael appeared at a tribute concert to Eddy Palmieri and the late Randy Weston as part of David Virelles ensemble.
In addition to his extensive tours within the United States, he has also toured to Europe, the Caribbean and South America and Canada. Rafael recorded an album with Chuchito Valdes's band. The album, New York is now, was nominated for a 2011 Latin Grammy for Best Latin Jazz Album. In addition to his work as a touring, recording performer/musician, Rafael is regularly featured in workshops at the Latin American Folk Institute in Maryland, and in percussion master classes at Coppin State University, Baltimore Maryland, University of Richmond, Virginia, the Levine School of Music Washington D.C., Loyola College Baltimore, Maryland, University of Colorado at Boulder, George Mason University, Washington D.C., The BANFF International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music, and the Kingston Jamaica Jazz Festival. His percussion workshops include drum set techniques, applying Afro—Cuban rhythms to jazz, hand drums, and the various styles of Afro-Cuban music. In 2009 Rafael released his first instructional dvd “Clave in Modern Drum Set Playing”. The video incorporates many African and Afro-Cuban rhythms, including those typically played on congas and Bata that he grew up with. The unique twist that Rafael brings to the music is how to apply these rhythms on the drum set. This allows drummers to gain interdependence in playing using a new method that can bring excitement to their practice. Rafael was featured in modern drummer in October 2004. He uses and is endorsed by Sabian cymbals and Toca percussion.