‘One of the finest guitarists to be heard anywhere’

THE MULTICULTURAL ARTS FORUM

Rafael Arden has been playing the guitar since the age of 8 and was performing on stage by the time he was ll. It was the 80s and he was obsessed with the heavy metal guitar greats such as Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai and Randy Rhoads, along with Roy Bucannon, John McLaughlin, even John Denver and Cat Stevens!

At 16 Rafael began teaching at the Yamaha School of Music, was performing in bands every night, and working as a session musician. Then at the age of 19 he was accepted into the Conservatorium of Music to pursue his interest in the Classical guitar. Trading in his Gibson Flying-V for a classical guitar, he became immersed in the highly disciplined world of Classical music, this time obsessing over the classical guitar greats, such as Fernando Sor, Mauro Giuliani, and Villa-Lobos.

Halfway into his first year as a student, Rafael was already playing the Grade 8 Licentiate pieces, so when he was given a 13 stringed Renaissance lute to play, it was a challenge he couldn’t resist. Rafael fell in love with this exquisite, delicate little instrument, and now had a new obsession! 

As a lutenist, Rafael became the accompanist for student exams, chamber music ensembles, and Master Classes with celebrated opera singer Guila Tiver. He was Lutenist and Choir Master for an Early Music Elizabethan Madrigal Ensemble, with members of the State Opera Company, performing the music of John Dowland. He was also performing in a broken consort with world renowned recorder players, viol da gamba and viol players, performing Elizabethan music of the 1500s.

Then in his late 20s a new challenge arose, he was given a 13 course Baroque lute (with a monstrous 26 strings!), and began playing the music of Master Musician Sylvius Weiss, and of course Johann Sebastian Bach!

My beautiful little Charles Ford Renaissance Lute 

Unfortunately for a musician, life and bills constantly get in the way of making music, and eventually Rafael went back to playing guitar. Since then he has gone on to write, produce and record various CDs, including jazz, blues, folk, Celtic, as well as country albums. Rafael also performed as Santana in the Sydney Santana Show and paid tribute to Jerry Reed and Chet Atkins as a country musician.

Throughout his life, both in the studio and live on stage, Rafael has worked with world renowned musicians and artists who have performed with and produced such greats as Paul McCartney, Ringo Star, Barbara Streisand, Queen, solo guitarist John McLaughlin, in Australia Jon English and GangaJang, even the legendary Frank Sinatra!

‘I learnt so much working with such talented people.
It was a time in my life when I was totally out of my league and I really had to get my act together!’

Rafael has studied in depth, all styles of plucked stringed instruments dating back to the Medieval period, right through to the music of the 20th Century and the electric guitar. He was a teenager when he first discovered the music of J.S. Bach and after 40 years engrossed in the world of music has finally realised – there’s no one quite like Bach!

‘He should be called not Brook but Ocean on account of his endlessly inexhaustible wealth of musical ideas’

LUDWIG VON BEETHOVEN
(Bach is the German word for ‘brook’)

Bach’s musical genius has never been surpassed. Hailed by the greatest musicians from every Century, Bach’s music is extraordinary, containing a wealth of hidden treasures, patiently waiting to be revealed, but only to the most humble and dedicated of musicians!

Definitely not humble enough (yet!), but hopefully dedicated enough, Rafael has decided he now wants to play Bach and only Bach! This time however, he is choosing to do so on the electric guitar. Some will consider this utter blasphemy, others simply brave, but with great reverence Rafael is bringing Bach into the 21st Century!