Rafael Barata won the 1st edition of the Batuka! Masters – National Drummer´s Contest, in the year 1996. In the year 2000 he also won the the Batuka! Masters 5th edition - a special contest for the winners of the previous editions. Rafael participated, with the tune “Mirante” by Roberto Barata, in the 1st Batuka! CD, released in 1998.

"To get the 1st prize in the 1st Batuka! was simply unforgettable. At that time I was 15 and just felt the music choosing me. I kept playing, building my path and above all, knowing that once my devotion had given me so many good achievements, I couldn´t let it down. Then, I won the Batuka Masters. One more gift and the recognition. I will always be dedicated and thankful to God for the gift and to you for the opportunities in 1996 and 2000. Kisses."


Rafael Mendes Barata, Born in 1980, started to play the drums at 5 after taking some piano lessons. During his childhood remained focused in the MPB, with special emphasis in learning the Bossa Nova. This interest was inherited from his family: His father Roberto Mendes is a musician and his brother Beto, a piano player.

Self-taught and studying by the recordings, recorded his own first CD at 14. With the help of professor José Guedes Sobrinho (contemporary of the late great Bituca), learned musical theory and then started studying Jazz.

Recorded with various artists amog them Rosa Passos, Zizi Possi, Edu Lobo, Leny Andrade, Flávio Venturini, Leila Pinheiro, Ivan Lins, Angela Ro Ro, Paula Morelenbaum, Maúcha e Muiza Adnet, Mônica Salmaso, Joyce, Alcione and Luís Melodia. With great musicians like Dario Galante, Idriss Boudrioua, Osmar Milito, Durval Ferreira, João Donato, Mario Adnet, Moacir Santos, Hélio Celso, JT Meirelles, Spok Frevo, Hamilton de Hollanda, Maurício Einhorn, Jaques Morelenbaum, Lula Galvão, Marcos Valle, Marcos Amorim, Daniel Garcia, Claudio Roditi, Guilherme Dias Gomes, Turi Collura, Raul de Souza, Lisa Ono, Amanda Brecker, Oscar Castro Neves and Eliane Elias.

Already performed with some great names like Zezé Motta, Emilio Santiago, Zé Renato, Roberta Sá, Paula Santoro, Maúcha Adnet, Ney Matogrosso, the drummer/singer Wilson das Neves and Leny Andrade.

Participated in various Jazz Festivals in Brazil with Hermeto Pascoal, Jovino Santos Neto, Phillipe Baden Powell and “JT Meirelles and The Copa 5”, Jean Pierre Zanella (Montreal), Ray Moore (New Orleans), Idriss Boudrioua (Paris), Dario Galante (Italy), Jeff Gardner (USA), Nosso Trio (Nelson Faria – Ney Conceição), Paulo Moura, among others.

Made history at the most popular jazz club in Rio de Janeiro, The Mistura Fina by producing some inspired Jam Sessions with the pianist and owner of Rio´s nightlife, Osmar Milito and the bassist Augusto Mattoso, with the attendance of world renown musicians such as Russell Ferrante, Mike Shapiro, John Pizzarelli, Jane Monheit, Karrin Allison, Kevin Lethau, Mike Stern just to list some.

Rafael still plays with Edu Lobo and the singer Angela Ro Ro. In the jazzy side of his career, plays with Idriss Boudrioua at the septet Base & Brass. Since 2006, Rafael is an instructor at the CIVEBRA (International Summer Course of The Escola de Música de Brasília).

Played in various renowned festivals around the world including Latin America, Africa Asia and USA in projects such as: The Jeff Gardner Trio, Root System L.A. Group (Robby Marshall, Matt Politano and Dominic Thiroux), Elin - NY, “Nosso Trio”, Mika Mori – Elegant Samba Jazz Japan, and also with the “Cello Samba Trio” (Jaques Morelenbaum, Lula Galvão and Rafael).

Nowadays tours the world with the Eliane Elias quartet featuring Marc Johnson and Rubens de La Corte. Once living in New York city Rafael is already developing great musical projects with the bassist Paul Nowinski, a trio with the pianist Jon Davis and with the guitarist John Hart.


An interview with Rafael Barata: Batuka! Brasil | Great Encounters | 2020




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