Rafael Mendes Barata, was born in September 26th, 1980, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He started playing drums at the age of five. Throughout his childhood he was dedicated to Brazilian Popular Music, specially the Bossa Nova, whose influence came from his family members Roberto Mendes, his father musician and his brother Roberto Barata, pianist. Self-taught on drums, he started his studio career at the age of 14. He has won two International Brazilian Drums Festivals: 1st Batuka - At the age of 15, and the Batuka Masters 2000 at the age of 20.
Since then, Rafael has recorded and performed with several internationally acclaimed artists including Emilio Santiago, Rosa Passos, Eliane Elias, Marc Johnson, Kenny Barron, Edu Lobo, Leny Andrade, Lisa Ono, Herbie Hancock, Kenny Werner, Toots Thielemans, Antonia Bennett, Esperanza Spalding, Milton Nascimento, Zezé Motta, Liz Rosa, Angela Ro Ro, Nana Caymmi, Boca livre group, Paula Morelenbaum, Carol Saboya, Amanda Brecker, Maúcha and Muiza Adnet, Andréa Dutra, Mônica Salmaso, Joyce, Alcione, Luís Melodia, Zizi Possi, Flávio Venturini, Leila Pinheiro, Ivan Lins, João Bosco, Roberto Menescal, Antonio Adolfo, João Donato, JT Meirelles, Jaques Morelenbaum, Lula Galvão,Maurício Einhorn, Mario Adnet, Moacir Santos, Hélio Celso, Idriss Boudrioua, Osmar Milito, Durval Ferreira, Marcos Amorim, Daniel Garcia, Jeff Gardner, Mika Mori, NelsonFaria, Paulo Moura, Mike Moreno, André Vasconcellos, Root System L.A. Group, KlausMueller, Dave Liebman, Ricardo Vogt, Leo Gandelman, Marcos Nimrichter, Cliff Korman, Augusto Mattoso, Leonardo Amuedo, Claudio Roditi, Guilherme Dias Gomes, Turi Collura, Spok Frevo, Hamilton de Hollanda, Gabriel Grossi, Hermeto Pascoal, Marcos Valle, Raul de Souza, Oscar Castro Neves, Dario Galante, Zé Renato, Roberta Sá, Paula Santoro, Ney Matogrosso, the Singer/drummer Wilson das Neves, Alma Thomas, Chiara Civello, Jenny Robson, Gastão and Antônio Villeroy and many many others.
He was the house drummer at Mistura Fina - Rio de Janeiro's Jazz headquarters - for many years with the piano legend Osmar Milito and the bassist Augusto Mattoso. At this venue, he had the opportunity to play with several great artists including Russell Ferrante, Mike Shapiro, John Pizzarelli, Jane Monheit, Karrin Allison, Kevin Lethau, Mike Stern and many others American jazz artists.
Since early 2000’s he has been touring around the world, performing in the most expressive Jazz festivals and Theaters in the world, with his main projects: The "Cello Samba Trio" (beside Jaques Morelenbaum and Lula Galvão) and Eliane Elias Quartet (Eliane Elias, Marc Johnson, and Rubens De La Corte), whom just awarded the 2016 Grammy for the best latin Jazz album (Made in Brazil).
As an educator, he has presented clinics and masterclasses in the most important universities and music schools in the world, like Berklee School of music, University of Southern California, The Sibelius Academy, Escola de música de Brasília, Escola de música Villa Lobos, Conservatório de música de Tatuí and many others drum schools.
Dubbing himself "The Traveler", Rafael travels around the world and inside the music to bring happiness to audiences far and wide.
Barata is sponsored by Zildjian Cymbals, Vic Firth Drumsticks, Remo Drumheads, Latin Percussion, QSC Speakers and Stagework UK, brandleaders in the world. Visit rafaelbarata.com for more information.