We are saddened by the sudden passing of Rafael Manríquez Silva on June 26, 2013. His spirit for justice and passion for music will always be remembered. Rafa’s contributions to our community through his songs and leadership will forever echo in our hearts. Rest in Power!
Rafael Manríquez was one of the leading exponents of Latin American music in the San Francisco Bay Area for over twenty years. Originally from Santiago, Chile, Rafael brought us the gift of both his exquisite voice and remarkable skill on Latin American string instruments, ranging from the guitar to the charango to the cuatro and tiple. Rafael was a passionate and well-loved composer and performer. Through his music, he revealed the richness of Latin folk rhythms influenced by the Spanish, Native American and African cultures. His lyrics reflect the struggles and hopes of the people of this continent. He performed throughout the Americas and Europe. His music has been recorded on over ten albums.
Rafael performed as a solo artist and with several musical groups throughout Chile and Ecuador. Since he moved to the Bay Area in 1977, Rafael continued his work as a performer and a teacher. He was an active leader at La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley, California – teaching classes in guitar and New Latin American Song, and organizing Latin American music festivals. From 1980 – 1984, Rafael was the musical director and lead singer of Grupo Raíz, an internationally acclaimed Chilean ensemble that recorded three albums and toured extensively in the United States and abroad. He was also a founding member of the Andean music group Arauco, which performs throughout Northern California.