Rafael Macedo

“There is no musical note or any instrumental ‘passage’ without the desire for some type of narrative need.” This statement by Rafael Macedo to journalist Pérola Mathias in the digital magazine Diversos Afins could be attached to the front door of his “microarchitectures”.

Released in 2018 by Rocinante, microarquiteturas is the name of Macedo´s second album with the group Pulando o Vitrô (Jumping Over the Stained-Glass Window), and although the quote refers specifically to that project, it could generally define the procedures used by this composer and arranger from Minas Gerais: the slightest details in his scores are ripe with meanings that unveil themselves to the listener one after another, slowly and continuously.

Arrigo Barnabé – another great micro-architect – saluted Rafael effusively on the back cover: “songbird-bearer of hope, who makes the sound flow from barren rock with the beats of thy staff, hoorah!” 

Ever since his first creations, Macedo´s style has combined dissimilar cultural elements. While still a teenager, he sent a piece to a school festival with elements of jazz, Villa-Lobos, and Nirvana. His mother´s piano and his father´s guitar involuntarily taught him, as a boy, something that is now expressed in his work´s boldness: that some dichotomies deserve to be discarded, such as “classical” and “popular”, “sophisticated” and “primitive”, “low” and “high”. 

His first album, Quase em Silêncio (Near Silence) (2009), already revealed an artist moving decidedly towards the “universal” – leading Hermeto Pascoal to note that Rafael “is not the type that needs to mingle to appear”. 

The wizard from Alagoas shared the bill with the musician from Minas Gerais at the Meio de Campo Festival in 2015. Rafael´s group opened the night for Hermeto´s band, and in the grand finale they “brought the house down” together.

As a performer, Macedo also “brought the house down” with Uakti, Gabriel Grossi, Toninho Horta, Benjamin Taubkin, Juliana Perdigão, Kristoff Silva, Rafael Martini, and so many others.

As an author, Rafael won two editions of the BDMG Instrumental Award (2006 and 2013) and the Funarte Popular Music Circuit (2010).

As an arranger, he signed recordings in the current Belo Horizonte scene (Coletivo Ana, Leonora Weissmann, Graveola, Leopoldina Azevedo, Edu Pio).

He headed various albums as musical producer, including the debut of singer/composer Sofia Cupertino, children´s compositions by Edu Pio, and the work of Misturada Orquestra, which he co-produced in 2011.

The video of his song “Sonhos em pó” (“Powdered Dreams”), in partnership with the Andarin audiovisual, won both the Funarte Respirarte Award in 2020 and the FAC Award in 2021. 

Macedo´s forays into the audiovisual field (again in partnership with Andarin and backed by texts by Thiago Amud) will gain a new chapter in 2022 with the public release of the project A voz, a sós (Voice alone) consisting of nine video-songs specially conceived for nine performers to sing a cappella


Launched in 2023 by Rocinante, Talvez uma dansa (Maybe a dance) is the name of Rafael Macedo’s third album.

Macedo’s forays into the audiovisual field (again in partnership with Andarin and backed with texts by Thiago Amud) gained a new chapter in 2022, when the project A voz, a sós (The voice, alone) was announced publicly, consisting of nine video-songs conceived specially for nine singers who will perform a cappella

Rafael also took his third recording step here at Rocinante in 2023, when we released Talvez uma dansa

Talvez uma dansa is an in-depth meditation on impermanence, with a chamber quartet as the foundation (piano, violin, viola, and bass) and further density from cymbals, cuícas, berimbaus, a guitar trio, and Japanese flutes, drawing on polyrhythmic structures, Oriental modes, and flirts with atonality. 

This project is co-produced by Thiago Amud, and the author shared the microphones with Jhê, Lívia Nestrovski, Kristoff Silva, and a twelve-voice women’s lyrical chorus.

Rafael Macedo´s journey, crisscrossed by so many friendships, can perhaps be translated by the same structures as the songs he creates, since as he says, “For me, everything – instruments, voices, and lyrics – wants to communicate something in common or in dialogue, each in its own way.”

Photography: Ísis Medeiros