Joel Rafael Circle of Friends Benefit for The Woody Guthrie Festival on Fri, April 29, 2016

Singer-songwriter and folk musician Joel Rafael has been writing and performing for over 50 years, beginning as a drummer with his first band, a jazz combo, in the 6th grade. After transitioning from jazz to surf music in junior high, Rafael soon found himself swept up by the rise of folk music in the early sixties. He began learning chords on a cheap guitar he picked up in Tijuana, until he was able to afford a more respectable instrument by selling an expensive rifle he’d been given.

As a solo performer and with his band, he has opened shows throughout the southwestern United States for artists including Joan Baez, John Trudell, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Sheryl Crow, Laura Nyro, Taj Mahal, Emmylou Harris and John Lee Hooker.