125 – Rafael Pereira: Playing with Janelle Monae, Bringing Brazil to Atlanta, Growing Up On Samba Tradition and Pop Records
Rafael Pereira was born and raised in Sao Paolo, Brazil. As a kid he began playing piano, guitar and percussion, and along with his brother, fell in love with the traditional Samba and Choro music of Brazil. He first came to the U.S. as an exchange student in high school, and spent a year in Idaho. After he returned to Brazil, his father got a business opportunity in Atlanta and Rafa made the move with him. In addition to Atlanta’s Brazilian community of about 60,000, Rafael found immediate opportunities to play all sorts of gigs on drums and percussion. He played percussion alongside two of the city’s most famous local heroes, Sonny Emory and Lil’ John Roberts, which led to his name being thrown into the hat when Janel Monae was forming a new band in 2010. He’s been part of her team ever since, playing for multiple recordings and tours. He also stays active at home in Atlanta with multiple projects including The ATL Collective, a pool of Atlanta musicians that convenes once a month to perform a classic album in its entirety.
In this podcast, Rafael talks about:
He and his brother getting into the Samba artists of their parents’ and grandparents’ generations
The blurred line between percussion and drumset in Brazilian music
Why he views the percussionist’s role as that of a copilot, and why he loves it
The parallels between American and Brazilian folk/roots music
Taking stylistic and rhythmic cues from guitarists
His involvement in The ATL Collective
Rafael endorses Pearl Drums and Percussion, Remo Drumheads, Sabian Cymbals, Innovative Sticks and Mallets, Cooperman Frame Drums, and Ultimate Ears In-Ear Monitors.