Montréal, Quebec, CAN

Toto & Rafael Duo: "SENTIMIENTO" : The great guitarist Toto Laraque with the powerful vocalist Rafael - acoustic duo- folkloric versions of Latin music standards and originals- will bring you on a private cruise to the beautiful islands of Haiti and Dominican Republic in a way you never heard before


Biography: Rafael
Singer, Songwriter (SOCAN)
Montréal-Québec, Canada
Bani, Dominican Republic

Oye ke lindo suena.....!

Rafael (Wilsikin Esteban Medina Arias, born April 1, 1968) is a Montreal based singer, songwriter, bandleader and entertainer, 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 the Dominican Republic’s cradle of baseball: many of its sons have gone on to play major league such as Miguel Tejada, Vladimir Guerrero, Cristian Guzman, and Erick Aybal.

Rafael performs and composes different genres of Latin music repertoire, but he is known mostly as a composer and interpreter of music from the Dominican Republic: merengue and bachata. He started singing when he was 5 years old, in school and at church. Rafael is from a family of 11 brothers and sisters- 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. Rafael was inspired by musicians such as José José, Emmanuel, and Pedro Fernandez with his song ‘La Mochila Azul’. Rafael is inspired by Fernando Villalona ‘El Mayimbe’, Sergio Vargas and Alex Bueno because of their great talent, charisma and character.

Rafael was a back up vocalist with Dominican bands such as Zona Libre, but he mostly dedicated himself to writing his own songs. When he first arrived in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, he met Samael ‘Kuky’ Carbuccia, the Musical Director of Montreal’s Estofa Band and Rafael became the group’s lead singer. Estofa Band performed in many theatres, festivals and clubs in Montreal and Toronto, including opening act performances for renowned groups such as Aventura, Grupo Mania, Monchy & Alexandra and Toño Rosario. Estofa Band recorded a compact disc that featured Rafael’s vocals and composition work. Rafael has composed music for other artists: two of Rafael’s compositions, ‘La Colegiala’ and ‘Nena’ appear on EMI-Virgin recording artist Papa AP’s compact disc ‘Assessina’.

Rafael has performed as a lead and/or guest vocalist with a variety of Latin music ensembles at festivals and venues in Quebec such as Chicoutimi, Magog, and Mont Tremblant, as well as at a variety of Dominican Republic community events and festivals including the Festival International del Merengue de Montreal. Rafael sang back up vocals for international touring artists Cuco Valoy, Aramis Camilo, Charlie Rodriguez, Benny Sadel and Sandy Reyes during their Montreal appearances.

In 2008, Rafael embarked on a solo career as a bandleader with his live orchestra 'Rafael & Energia Dominicana': performances include the historic Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympics/Paralympics-Whistler Live, March 19, 2010; Le Festival International Nuits D’Afrique, La TOHU-La Falla, Festival International Rythmes de Monde du Saguenay, Calgary Expo Latino, and for a variety of events with the Bureau de Tourisme République Dominicaine in Montreal. In 2011, Rafael was invited to perform on the Quebec television musical variety show, Belle et Bum, for their 25th Anniversary special.

Rafael performs in a duo formation with the renowned Montreal-Haitian guitarist, Toto Laraque: 'Toto & Rafael: Sentimiento’. Toto & Rafael have performed live to air on Radio Canada Internacional, and concert appearances include Cordes a Cordes Series of Les Productions Nuits D'Afrique, and concerts for Haitian Earthquake Relief. Toto & Rafael were invited to Concordia University's Music Department by Professor Jeri Brown to give a seminar about the music of Hispaniola, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Rafael does ongoing volunteer work with Heritage Home Rehabilitation Centre in Huntington, Quebec. He has also performed in support of the Canadian Cancer Association’s Relay for Life event.

In 2010, Rafael's debut single, a ballad 'Sembrando Amor' held the #1 chart position for 10 consecutive weeks at the Montreal Spanish language tropical radio program on MIKE-FM: 'Romanticos with Kiko & Dany'.

Rafael is currently working on pre-production for his debut full CD recording that will include his original compositions and arrangements of selected standard Dominican and Latin music repertoire.


Rafael is currently in the studio working on pre-production of his debut album, single planned for Christmas 2012; album planned for Spring 2013.

Set List

1.Introducción de “Enamorarse en la playa” Intro
Introducción músicos
11. AY AY
13. VETE