Rafi eL
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Rafi eL

Los Angeles, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | INDIE

Los Angeles, California, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Latin EDM

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Sep
18
Rafi eL @ Los Globos

Los Angeles, California, United States

Los Angeles, California, United States

Sep
14
Rafi eL @ Rendezvous

Seattle, Washington, United States

Seattle, Washington, United States

Sep
13
Rafi eL @ Goodfoot Pub & Lounge

Portland, Oregon, United States

Portland, Oregon, United States

Music

Press


"Rafi El, Ay De Mi (Dutty Artz)"

On his first full-length album since a string of his singles went viral in the global bass-music scene, electronic producer and Los Angeles native Rafi El paints one of the most evocative sonic portraits of the city in years. The richly detailed tapestry of styles on Ay De Mi draws from the full range of the Latin diaspora that's landed in LA, as well as from the electronic-dance-music culture that has recently made LA its unofficial global capital city; bilingual vocals give the songs a strong pop feel. It's a fascinating album from a musicological standpoint, full of unexpected combinations such as cumbia and moombahton (itself an EDM hybrid of reggaeton and Dutch house), but its most crucial quality is the uplift and joy that Rafi El infuses into every track. —Miles Raymer - The Chicago Reader


"Rafi El – “Ay De Mi”"

A key part of the appeal of the so-called tropical scene is its otherness: the escapism it provides from the default musical options that in time leave you feeling culturally claustrophobic. The dynamic freshness of the left-field beats and the melodic framing in tandem pretty much always provide a sidestep from the mainstream that goes down a treat. Thing is, though, there’s a non-inconsequential risk of it creating a smug boys’ club, one that would probably leave you thinking that you and Gilles Peterson are fam in waiting, just because you’re up on your Angolan vibes. The campaign for real ale are waiting for you with open arms.

Which brings us to this album, Ay De Mi by Rafi El, which dropped today on Dutty Artz. Straight on the back of having blown out the candles on its sixth birthday cake, the label has made a point of retaining that otherness, but while asserting that these sounds don’t – and shouldn’t – exist in isolation. So it proves with Ay De Mi. Straight off the bat with the opener, “Senda,” it seeks out a sweet spot of togetherness: soulful downbeat electronica that glides between realms – kind of like The Weeknd taking a weeknd break to Latin America and getting giddy with what he finds. Rafi El has seen this mission statement of global oneness through to the end, as drum & bass and dubstep try to share the bedcovers with cumbia and kuduro. Seamlessly. What you have here is a crisp, bold and smart attempt to ratify where music stands at this moment in time, that otherness for its own sake is a wanker’s refuge. Ay De Mi hints at a whole planet of vibes over 11 tracks, which is some doing. - Do Androids Dance


"New Album By Rafi El: ‘AY DE MI’"

New York tropical label, Dutty Artz, has released a new record by a Los Angeles, Calif., -based artist and it is a thoroughly creative offering.

“Ay De Mi” is the full-length debut by Rafi eL. It builds on electronic and tropical rhythms, layering them with a unique songwriting vision, in which Spanish collides with English, exuberance alternates with reflection, and South American folk traditions merge with heavy dancefloor love.

In this record, Rafi eL raps and sings, weaving “an immigrant’s tale of searching for connection in a fragmented city, and finding release in the delirious dance… It’s the sound of Los Angeles today.”

The first single off the album, “Senda,” is my favorite. Its lyrics are like a much needed zen meditation getaway:

I’m just gonna breathe
Don’t wanna speak more
Help me meditate, stay clean and eat pure



Tengo chispa, no mas dame leña
Tengo sendero, no mas dame señal
Tengo esta plegaria pequeña:
No cansame de seguir la senda

So who is this Rafi eL?

Born in Israel, then raised in Los Angeles by Argentine-Jewish parents, Rafi eL’s music gained form in Los Angeles’ simmering pan-Latino communities, drawing in equal parts from the raw grit of backyard cumbias and the synthy exuberance of “hyphy” rap. But it was a trip to Latin America – via the experience of hearing an Ayuahasca shaman playing songs on a charango – that transported Rafi back to the music of the Andes, the music that borders his parents’ old home in Argentina. Zeroing in on this musical inspiration, he moved towards the music of his ancestral roots, wrapping his distinctive voice around a unique production style where hard-driving electronic beats share space with acoustic, folkloric instruments.

He then teamed up with Dutty Artz and began releasing a string of free singles and covers in 2013. They included a Spanish-language remake of Dr. Dre’s “What’s the Difference” (re-imagining the Cali classic as a bilingual border-crossing anthem), an EP of remixes based off his infectious Tra Ba rhythm, and Siempre Quiero Más, a Spanish rework of Depeche Mode’s “Just Can’t Get Enough” which bounces joyously over minimal 808 kicks and reggaeton claps.

Rafi eL has an activist side, as he performed at a protest earlier this week at an annual shareholders meeting of the Monsanto Company, a leading producer of genetically engineered (GE) seed and of the herbicide glyphosate.

Check out the video for “Senda” below. Directed by Edson Amaya, it has a castaway theme, in which Rafi is coughed up by the ocean onto a deserted island. Watching it is like a zen meditation getaway in itself.

Make sure the grab the album, “Ay De Mi,” via Dutty Artz. - Sounds and Colours


Discography

2013:

  • La Diferencia (Single)
  • Tra Ba (Remix EP)
  • Siempre Quiero Mas (Single)
  • Yo No Puedo Mas (Rafi El Remix) (from Geko Jones and Atroplis present: Palenque Records Remixed - Dutty Artz Compilation)
2014
  • Ay De Mi (Full Length Album)

Photos

Bio

Rafi eL's superb live band creates rootsy, globaly-influenced electronic dance music. Using Rafi eL's vibrant Spanglish tunes as a sonic springboard, Edwin Portillo (synths) and Theo Seidmon (electronic drums) help Rafi develop dub-inflected dance music that draws from the depths of the Latin diaspora.

Born in Israel, then raised in Los Angeles by Argentine-Jewish parents, Rafi eL's earliest days were steeped in the sounds and cultures of three continents. His music gained form in L.A.'s simmering pan-Latino communities, drawing in equal parts from the raw grit of backyard cumbias and the synthy exuberance of hyphy rap. But it was a trip to Latin America - via the experience of hearing an Ayuahasca shaman playing songs on a charango - that transported Rafi back to the music of the Andes, the music that borders his parents' old home in Argentina. Zeroing in on this musical inspiration, he moved towards the music of his ancestral roots, wrapping his distinctive voice around a unique production style where hard-driving electronic beats share space with acoustic, folk instruments.

Live Instrumentation:

Rafi El - Voice, Synth, Guitar, Charango
Edwin Portillo - Synths, Percussion
Theo Seidmon - Electronic Drums

Band Members