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Rafael Santa Cruz

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Biography

Rafael comes from the tradition of the Santa Cruz family, an important Afro-Peruvian family dedicated to cultivating diverse artistic and cultural expressions in Peru. From the age of 14, Rafael developed his artistic activities participating in recording sessions, radio and television programs, music for theater, among many other activities.
Rafael finished a degree in Musicology from the National Conservatory of Music of Peru and graduate studies in Cultural Management and Communication in FLACSO, Argentina.
In the late 1980s, along with his brother Octavio Santa Cruz, Rafael formed the group The Santa Cruz Brothers & Afroperú, making recordings like Maka Maka Eribo (1991), No Limits (1992), Afroperú (1995), and Santa Cruz Brothers Greates Hits (2000).
Rafael has appeared as a guest on recordings by Eva Ayllon, Carmina Cannavino, Lito Figueroa, Miki González, SCN-NSC, Carlos Guerrero, Willy Rivera, Victoria and Nicomedes Santa Cruz, Patricia Saravia and Tierra Sur, among many others. He has also made presentations, workshops and has given concerts in London, Perugia, Milan, Ferrara, Cordoba, Madrid, Murcia, Pittsburgh, Washington DC, New York, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Curitiba, Esmeraldas, San Juan, Ponce, Geneva, Berlin, Paris, and Biarritz.
As a writer and educator Santa Cruz is the author of the Book and CD The Afro-Peruvian Cajon, published in 2004. This is the first book dedicated exclusively to the study of the Peruvian Cajon. Rafael also is in charge of the page www.cajonperuano.org, which is dedicated entirely to this instrument.
In April 2008 Santa Cruz founded the International Festival of the Peruvian Cajon with the Cultural Center of Spain in Lima and in 2012, in its fifth edition, the festival got a Guinness Record for bringing together 1476 people playing Cajon at the Plaza de Armas in Lima.
Rafael was instrumental in the process of  getting the Peruvian authorities to recognize the Cajita National Heritage.
For the anniversary concert of the National Conservatory of Peru and in honor of the 90th anniversary of the maestro Enrique Iturriaga, who compose in 1971, Stravinsky's death, the piece "Homage to Stravinsky for orchestra and Cajon soloist", Rafael was invited to play the Cajon  by Iturriaga.
Among Rafael’s acknowledgements are the Honor Diploma in recognition for his collaboration and support to the Afro Peruvian people. On June 8, 2012 is Rafael is also honored by the Department of Culture as Meritorious Person for the Peruvian culture. Rafael is a member of the Advisory Committee of the Department of Culture.
Currently Rafael is Professor at the Cultural Center of the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru, the Peruvian University of Applied Sciences (UPC-School of Music School of Contemporary Arts) and artistic director of the Peruvian Cajon Festival.

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