Here’s an insider scoop on Raul Rekow. When the stirring pecussionist collaborated with LP, the eminent manufacturer of percussion instruments, on the design of a line of congas and bongos that would bear his name, Raul held out for instruments that sounded emphatically pro—but sold for prices affordable by beginners and intermediate players. In the early days in the Bay area, Raul played his share of gigs on street level. Even when viewing from stadium heights, he has not forgotten his friends who jam beneath the golden bridge.
There is nothing quite like it when Raul Rekow gets deep into an exciting, intricate pattern that darts from high to low congas. His facility is complete, his rhythms faithful to folkloric rhythms that have traveled from Africa to Cuba to Puerto Rico and north through America. His passion is as emphatic as the beads of perspiration that cut through the air. His motions are broad, expansive, and dramatic; not driven by show but by creative imperatives. Raul Rekow talks from experience when explaining indigenous music or demonstrating its phrasing and he plays with a broad palette of colors and astonishing techniques. Each song, whether in the studio as an accompanist or on stage with a touring act, gets the full treatment because Raul Rekow plays, as they say, for keeps.
Following a learning curve shaped by legendary congueros Armando Perazo and Orestes Vilato, Raul Rekow drew to the attention of famed guitarist Carlos Santana. Jamming was all it took and Raul joined Santana, the band, in 1976. Aside from a brief respite, he has been with the Latin-rock fusion outfit since. A vivid, impassioned performer—invariably a crowd pleaser—Raul Rekow is also a superb clinician on Latin music and drumming. He has done extensive clinic tours with famed veteran percussionist Armand Perazzo and solo. In addition, he produced the popular instructional video From Afro-Cuban to Rock, which underscores his command of traditional and contemporary styles. Although his strong suit is congas and bongos, witness his pairing with fiery timbalero Karl Perazza in Santana, Raul is no slouch on a variety of percussion instruments and can play a credible urban groove on drumset!
Charismatic, theatrical, evocative and powerful, Raul Rekow draws from a deep well. He grooves impeccably on stage or on record, while his solos are riveting: one hand slaps conga, the other holds the audience…in the palm!