Welcome To Rate The Tracks

We are interested in providing a home for artists that want to have their tracks evaluated by seasoned professionals in the music business and fans alike. If it's a demo or the finished product we want to hear your tracks! This is intended to be interactive between the artists and listeners. Providing feedback to the artists will assist them in developing their music.

December 23, 2015

Featured Stream: Raphael Groten-Sweetness

Raphael Groten has a new release out titled Journey Home. Our focus track is the beautiful and delicate "Sweetness." 

Groten takes his acoustic guitar and turns it into a tool to soothe and caress the human mind, body and spirit. With the video provided you will also see what the message is in addition to hearing it.

What I enjoyed is the simplicity and directness of the track. "Sweetness" can come in many different ways and in this case it is being with a loved one and enjoying the splendor of nature and all its gifts.

Groten delivers to the listener and an audio visual treat to help you to realize that the simple things in life are what are most important. Look around you and take it all in and enjoy your life and everything it brings to you on a daily basis. One man, one guitar and music of solitude and gratitude is what I hear. I like the way the video ends with Groten creating a totem on a tree with his guitar and bird feathers. Our Native American father's would be proud!

Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck



More About Raphael Groten:

http://raphaelgroten.com

Acoustic guitarist Raphael Groten exhibited amazing patience in waiting until now to release his first solo recording, seeing as he has been playing the instrument for thirty years (and loving every minute of it). His story involves perseverance, happenstance, and coincidence, and even though the seeds of what germinated for years have finally sprouted with the release of 2015's Journey Home, getting there involved some diversions as well as the development of a deep-rooted belief in a world of personal spiritual growth and commitment to using his talent for the betterment of others.

Raphael Groten was born in Philadelphia forty-two years ago on Christmas Day, 1973, into a true music-loving environment. From happy times as the family sang during long car trips to the sizable jazz and classical vinyl collection in the house (with a particular emphasis on bossa nova and Latin-influenced jazz) to the ubiquitous presence of multiple guitars during holiday gatherings, there seemed to be something musical going on at all times. Despite there being a piano available, Raphael first picked up the saxophone as his chosen instrument, beginning with alto sax in the 4th grade and graduating to tenor from grades 7 to 10. He moved on to guitar when he turned 13 and, as they say, the rest is history. First acquiring some informal music training from his mother and sister, Raphael then moved on to formal studies at the University of Vermont, where he majored in Philosophy and minored in Music. While still in high school, he became immersed in folk music and by the end of his Freshman year of college he had composed over 100 songs, collaborating with friends when it came time to write lyrics. After his diploma, he launched his own ten-piece Latin/jazz/funk ensemble, Saudade. The group performed extensively during the late '90s in Burlington, Vermont, and released two albums of Raphael's own compositions.

Even as he was experiencing success with his band, something stirred inside him, some part of him wanted to affect positive change in the world. In 1993, while taking a holistic health class, he met his first shamanic teacher, Susan Grimaldi. In 2001, she would reenter his life at a pivotal moment when he sought personal healing after his four and a half month old son was involved in a near fatal accident. That first night in intensive care he played guitar for his son, while the following day a therapeutic harpist paid them a visit in his son's room, performing for them. It was at this moment when an epiphany dawned for Raphael—his life calling was to compose, perform, and eventually record intentional healing music for people in need. Shortly thereafter, he began shamanic studies, first with Grimaldi and then with Zacciah Blackburn in the field of Sound Healing. He graduated to being a practitioner himself, which he does to this date, offering Sound Circles, individual sessions, group work and apprenticeships, using voice, medicine drum, crystal bowl, flutes and more.

In addition to his work in the Sound Healing field, Raphael also teaches children folk music, and uses singing, dancing, clapping, music theory and song-writing as part of his teaching repertoire. In addition, he also holds private lessons for both guitar and ukulele. As if that wasn't enough to keep him busy,  he is also a contractor, carpenter, and furniture maker, with his own company, Barnoire Furniture and Cabinetry (started in 2001).

It was while sitting in one of his daily meditations in nature (he currently lives in a log cabin atop a mountain in Starksboro, Vermont) that yet another turning point occurred in Raphael's life. He was moved, purely through intuition, to email one of his guitar tracks ("Black River") to Will Ackerman, Windham Hill label founder and owner of Imaginary Road Studios, also in Vermont. In his email, he also requested a meeting to discuss the possibility of Will producing Raphael's first solo recording, featuring fingerstyle acoustic guitar. Fate smiled on him and Will responded the next day. A scant two months later, Groten's debut, Journey Home, was recorded in just two days at Imaginary Road. The experience left a huge impact on Raphael, as he states "I would be remiss in not mentioning the enormous influence and presence of Will Ackerman in my life... I now see, first hand, how Will champions music of this nature."

When asked about his goal for his music, Raphael replies with rock-solid conviction: "To me, being a musician involves offering an uplifting, contemplative, and ultimately healing experience to each listener. As I play each concert and as I write and record each song, I imbue my music with mindful intention for the well-being and healing of all life."

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