Rafael Monteagudo (drummer/percussionist) 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 univeristy of havana to name a few. he also performed at various prestigious festivals such as the havana jazz festival and cuba disco.
Since rafeal has been in the us, he has performed in such venues as lincoln center, central park summer stage, the jazz galery, joe's pub, banf, blue note, scullers jazz club, green space wnyc, blues alley, the smithsonian institute, kennedy center, green mill jazz club, aspen jazz festival, key may jazz festival, the rochester jazz festival, the caramoor jazz festival, the sedona jazz festival on the rocks, 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. he has played with desmond child for his induction into the songwriters hall of fame. he recently played for the new musical cuba libre with music and lyrics by desmond child and davitt sigerson. in addition to his extensive tours within in 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.
Rafael has taught regularly at the latin american folk institute in maryland as well as offers master percussion seminars at universities and music schools. he has given workshops at coppin state university, university of richmond, the levine school of music, loyola college, george mason university. he has also taught workshops with yosvany terry's band at banf in canada as well as in jamaica and drummers collective in new york with pedro martinez. rafael’s percussion workshops include drum set techniques, applying afro—cuban rhythms to jazz, hand drums, and the various styles of afro-cuban music.
Rafael released his first instructional dvd “clave in modern drumset playing” in 2009. the video incorporates many of the african and afro-cuban rhythms, including those played on congas and batas that he grew up with. the unique twist that rafael adds is how to play 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 Kaman.