Right at the beginning of the conversation with Rafaeu, the importance of music in his life becomes clear. The affectionate way in which he talks about his work and his story leaves no doubt about it. The only question was the pronunciation of his name. “This is a good question, I see people calling me‘ Rafaêu ’, I’ve even thought of putting an accent there”, amuses himself by explaining that the pronunciation is the same as the name Rafael.
With a scheduled performance for SIM's official showcases, Rafaeu had one of his songs, Saramandaia, chosen to be the trail of the event's vignette. “Having music at SIM is very rewarding. This year of 2020 I thought about promoting my music in a totally organic way and seeing that it was chosen as a theme… I didn't believe it. In reality, my record will only drop when I am performing at showcases. It is something I did not expect for this start, and it gives me more strength to believe in my potential, I have to thank each person responsible for this, I am in the clouds ”, he says.
Since childhood, Rafaeu has had a close relationship with music and art, and remembers, as a child, listening to songs by Fagner, Zé Ramalho, Elba, Elza Soares, Gilberto Gil, Caetano, Jorge Vercilo, and many others who ended up being part of influence on your work. "Even as a child, the music took me to places of my mind that I didn't used to go and whether or not it was an expression of freedom, it was a calm with which I identified a lot, but I didn't know how to proceed".
Born in São Paulo, Rafaeu spent part of his childhood in Fortaleza, and speaks fondly of his mother, who has always encouraged her contact with the cultural environment. My first musical memories come from there, everything very northeastern, my whole universe starts there. I used to go to theaters a lot, Centro Dragão do Mar, Casa de José de Alencar, and I watched many musicals that were free at the time, it was right at the beginning of the Lula government, so there was a lot of free culture for children, and that made a big difference in my life, I was around five years old, but it is very remarkable, you can forget ”.
At the age of nine, Rafaeu returned to live in São Paulo, and it took him a while to return to frequent this type of space. “São Paulo has that big city thing, coldness, distance, and I only got close to the cultural poles at the end of high school, when then everything revived in me, the theater, the expression, the music and the musical theater, which it's something that captivates me a lot ”, he says. At the same time he visited the Judith cultural center, in downtown São Paulo, where he met key people in his life. “The Judith house, an LGBT collective, which unfortunately ended, but it was fundamental, a cultural space where people could express themselves, it was a combination of artists, a pole of art”, he says. "There I met the Linn da Quebrada, Liniker and Jup do Bairro,, which helped me to loosen up as a non-binary person. Society left me trapped within an absurd normativity and in that place I felt that I could be myself ”, says Rafaeu, who says that there he also met a very important person in his education, the actress and singer Ayiosha Avelar:“ She taught me everything I know today, from singing, performing, expressing myself on stage and acting. She was that bridge between the awakening of my body and my spirit ”
The search for artistic expression has always been a wish of Rafaeu, who then created the channel Ubuntu, on YouTube, for which he created a series of short films mixing poetry and audiovisual content. But that was not enough, and in 2017 he released his first song, Migué, still under the pseudonym Rastro. A year later in 2018, with his work more mature, Rafaeu records his first EP, Ato, which according to him can be divided into three parts: The first, composed by the tracks Bica and Abacateiro, talks about the past, the influences, the second, with the track Saramandaia, makes a reference to the novel by Dias Gomes while celebrating communion and relaxation. And the third, with the tracks Ação and Me Tema, brings a more direct and dry speech. “The Act is a job that expresses what I experienced in college, it is visceral, it is radical, it is facing the system head on, bringing that feeling of changing the world, the Act symbolizes this”, says Rafaeu.
And it is precisely this spirit that he intends to bring to his presentation at SIM's official showcases: “The show is going to be an act, literally. I don't even know how to explain it, maybe I don't even want to open it too much. I will present my work and show people what I am capable of. It will be a very political presentation ”.
The performance at SIM's official showcases will also be the EP's launch show: “I had some dates scheduled, I would perform at the Teatro do Centro da Terra and had plans to do shows at the Cultural Factories on the east side. I was going to make this path between the free for my community, my people, and the paid for the guys who consume my type of art ”, he says. Rafaeu also announced that on the same day of his presentation, he will be releasing his first clip, of the song Abacateiro.