Rafael was born in Lisbon and lived in the Azores (Portugal) most of his childhood. He started playing the guitar at the age of 13 and after concluding a BA in Biology he dedicated himself entirely to music and writing.
He studied jazz guitar for a short period and then pursued studies in classical composition, completing a BA at the Escola Superior de Música de Lisboa in 2008 and a MA at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam in 2010.
His main musical influences are Bossanova, Portuguese folk music, Jazz and classical-contemporary music. His work as composer and arranger reflects a need to blend these diverse musical contexts and perspectives in a balanced way.
He has worked as a guitarist, composer and orchestrator in many projects. Some of his most relevant collaborations include leading fado singers such as Carlos do Carmo and Ana Moura, poet Nuno Júdice, pianist João Paulo Esteves da Silva or the editor Nelson de Matos (Portugal), the Nederlands Blazers Ensemble, Quatro Ventos, Daisy Correia (Netherlands), along with many other artists and ensembles.
Besides music, he writes prose and poetry, with sparse publications. He has released and participated in several music albums and edited two songbooks, with Augusto Macedo as co-author.