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Satellites #5 - Raphael Xavier

Satellites Raphael XavierSatellites #5

March 28th, 2018 / 8pm

Satellites Are Spinning: A Sizzling, Sonic Celebration of Sun Ra

Johnny Brenda’s
1201 Frankford Avenue

Philadelphia, PA 19125

For Tickets: CLICK HERE


Continuing the exploration started by our Sun Ra Mixtape Series celebrating the influence of the Philadelphia, visionary musician, philosopher, composer and band leader, Sun Ra, Philadelphia Jazz Project present, Satellites Are Spinning: A Sizzling, Sonic Celebration of Sun Ra. This concert series features 8 performances at some of the region's most important venues including; The Barnes Foundation, Ardmore Music Hall, Johnny Brenda's, The Planetarium of The Franklin Institute and World Cafe Live. Hosted by WRTI radio deejay, J. Michael Harrison.


Raphael Xavier is a breaker/dancer, rapper, music producer, comedian, photographer and author. He is best known for re-invigorating the B-boying community in Philadelphia. He started choreographing with the Brandywine School of Ballet in 1995. He then, joined Rennie Harris Puremovement, the longest running Hip-Hop dance company. He would continue on to become a core member of the RHPM company and is now an alumnus. He has received many awards and recognition for his choreographic work from 1999 to the present. Xavier gives lectures and dance classes internationally on Hip-Hop and its history. In 2013, Xavier was honored with a Pew Fellowships In The Arts award. Currently, Raphael Xavier is working on a book titled "Breaking Text / Defining Of A Culture" and serves as creator/producer of the multi-media, new wave, circus called, RAPHSTRAVAGANZA: The Kinetic Experience.


PJP spoke with rapper, dancer, choreographer and Hiphop producer, Raphael Xavier who will participant in Satellites Concert #5 of the Satellites Are Spinning Concert Series.

PJP: Can you briefly describe your musical direction?

RRaphael Xavier 4aphael Xavier: I'm pretty free most of the time. I bug out vocalizing about no more Italian dressing, or out of vegetables and it turns into a song cadence. Out of that, comes a new song. Afterwards, I push it in a direction of artists like, Tricky, David Sylvian, Bob Dylan, or Al Jarreau. It's all about having fun and being creative as much as possible.


PJP: What and whom are pivotal musical influences on your creative approach?


Raphael Xavier: The Police, Sting, Marvin Gaye and Michael MacDonald are a few. I think people who are told not to sing are the people who become great singers and songwriters. Phil Collins is another one. The more I learned about them the more I let go of what people thought of what I was doing. I'm no singer, but I can write a song and imitate the way I want to hear it. And it ends up being pretty interesting. Exploration is key. Isn't that what ALL DAY is for?


PJP: Tell us about the mixtape series that inspired this concert series.

Raphael Xavier:  I was asked by PJP's Director, Homer Jackson, if I wanted to be a part of this Sun Ra Mixtape Project. Soon I was in my studio building things. Next thing I know I was on stage. He thought that I could handle the performance, or the work that needed to be done for the series and I trusted that he trusted me. Which speaks to the previous answer. I didn't think I was good, but somebody did and I feel good about it. Homer wanted voices and characters and people who reached. I think I fell into that as a performer, so he threw me the line. It's a great group working on the series.

PJP: Tell us about the concert Satellites series. What are you planning to present at the Ardmore Music Hall?

Raphael Xavier: This is a dope series. You get to see and hear an eclectic array of sound and performers from Philadelphia who are pushing boundaries and taking risks. I have and will be doing a few pieces, but one in particular is, "Follow the Leader" by Eric B & Rakim. I've been a fan of Rakim's music since the Paid in Full album and know all of Rakim's songs. He's a mind-blowing lyricist.


Raphael Xavier 3Sun Ra was a leader and this song, "Follow the Leader" talks about some heavy stuff, when you listen to it. "Follow me into a solo, get into the flow, so you can picture like a photo." Come on! Sun Ra has been trying to get people to see the big picture since the beginning. And that's just an example of how important these satellites are. It's putting out information and drawing parallels between generations and genres of music and artists over the last 30 years. Ultimately I'm going to have a good time!

PJP: Why is this theme/concept so important?

Raphael Xavier: The idea is pretty fly. I didn't know much about Sun Ra aside from sampling a few of his works. But getting deeper into the material and watching interviews, there is a lot of Sun Ra all over the music industry. Especially in the Hip Hop world. 75% of the early rappers were continuing from where Sun Ra left off. Maybe, it will continue to influence people and artists to get out there and go for it. Not just play, but to perform. There is so much to this question.


PJP: Who is working with you on this?


There are a lot of heavy musicians and vocalists on this project. It includes the Intersection band, as well as Nu Gruv Network drummer, Kim Pedro and bassist, Mitch Beer, two great performers in the group. Then, there is Dan Kaplowitz on guitars and Adam Faulk on keyboards.  The group also includes Malik Henry on electronic percussion and sound fx. The horn section includes, saxophonist Terry Lawson and trumpeter, Matthew Stewart. On this show, we've also got a string section!!! Yeah.... with Veronica Jurkiewicz on violin/viola, Carlos Santiago on violin and Matt Engle on bass. And finally, the vocalists on the set are, superb singer, Jakeya Sanders with the multi-talented V. Shayne Frederick... and the sly fox rapper, Mad Matt Swayzie. I'm glad I can stand on stage with these guys and gals. It's exciting.

PJP: When listening to your music what advice would you give the audience to assist with greater understanding and enjoyment? 

Raphael Xavier 2Raphael Xavier: Know that you can reach. If it's in your head you can get it out. No matter what it is, it means something. I come from a time before hip hop so my musical influences varied from rock, r&b, funk, blues and cosmos types of sounds. I used all that in everything I did growing up. It inspires me today whether in the theatre or on the vocal stage with a mic. I draw from it all. So, listen and enjoy and reach and create freely. This shows in my dance performances too. I'm going for it all the time. I'm going to keep reaching until I burn my hands on the sun. Then reach some more and cool them on Pluto. Let's go!!


PJP: Why Jazz? When you could be doing anything else, Why this music?


Raphael Xavier: Jazz comes from a tradition of improvisation and the street. It's order and chaos. So does/is Breaking and rap music/hip hop, the whole shabang! It's an extension of my history and lineage so...WHY NOT!?!


Satellites #5

March 28th, 2018 / 8pm

Satellites Are Spinning: A Sizzling, Sonic Celebration of Sun Ra

Johnny Brenda’s
1201 Frankford Avenue

Philadelphia, PA 19125

For Tickets: CLICK HERE



Check out Raphael Xavier featured with The Intersection Of Jazz & Hiphop.


Special Thanks: The Sun Ra Estate, Irwin Chusid, Michael Anderson, J. Michael Harrison, Kim Pedro Rodriguez, DMHotep, Antoine Haywood, Gralin Hughes, James Solomon, Nija Walker, Bobby Zankel, Jay Levin, Agent Zero, Eric Bogacz, Alex Santilli, Gary Dann, Anthony Tidd, Dmani Lopez, Dan Blacksberg, V. Shayne Frederick, Asha Jackson, Julia Lopez, Melissa Talley Palmer, Gail Fountaine, Stephanie Seiple and Rich Nichols.


For more information about Sun Ra:

Sun Ra Estate Website
Sun Ra Arkestra Website
Sun Ra Facebook
Mission Creep Sun Ra Resources
Pitchfork's Essential Sun Ra Music
The Sun Ra Music Archive
Perfect Sound Forever Sun Ra Article
University of Chicago Sun Ra Exhibit

Stay tuned for details about this series!!!


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Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the Culture Trust | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Philadelphia Foundation.


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Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the Culture Trust | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Philadelphia Foundation.