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Escudero, Rafi

Born in 1945, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Rafi Escudero is a highly acclaimed poet, composer, singer, musician and arranger, as well as political activist.

Self-taught on the piano, Escudero also learned to play the violin, counting among his instructors, Kachiro and Guillermo Figueroa of the famous Figueroa family of classical musicians. Escudero pursued his university studies at the University of Puerto Rico where he was influenced by a wide variety of writers and musicians including Julia de Burgos, Antonio Machado and Juan Antonio Corretjer.

Although his musical compositions span many different genres, he is perhaps best known for his danzas. These include: “Caricias”, “Añoranza” and “Carta a Juan Morel” (lyrics) which helped keep alive an 19th century tradition of composing danzas even in this modern age of rock, salsa and merengue.

His talent is clearly evident in those and other works, earning him several prestigious awards such the Golden Agüeybaná as Composer of the Year (1980-81) and Most Oustanding Singer-Composer of the (Puerto Rico) Record Festival in 1983, 1984 and 1985.

As a musician and performer, Escudero has recorded several albums including, Cuando el Amor Germina, Sin Tu Amor, and Repica ese güiro y Canta. His latest album, Pa’ Cortarse las Venas was released in 1996. The quality of his compisitions is reflected in the list of widely known and talented artists that have recorded his music; artists such as: Carmita Jiménez, Cheo Feliciano, Ismael Miranda, Alex de Castro, Danny Rivera and José Feliciano.

But his poetry and prose has endeared him as much as his music. Escudero was author of the well regarded book, “En un Mundo de Cuerdos”.

In addition to his varied artistic pursuits, Escudero has demonstrated an abiding interest in politics, running for president of the pro-statehood, Partido Nuevo Progresista (New Progressive Party) in 2001. Although he withdrew from the race, he remains active in the party and political process.

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