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Rafael D'Arco

Rafael is Brazilian, born and raised in São Paulo. Since he was a child he had interest in music, and by the age of fourteen he began studying piano, his first instrument.

His professional plans were to become an engineer, so he went to college in São Paulo, but soon realized he wanted to play music professionally. In 2006 he then changed his major to music at the same college (USP – University of São Paulo).

At that time, Rafael was already playing piano professionally but while in college he started working in bands and orchestras.

His interest in percussion instruments began while he was still in Engineering school, when he played Brazilian traditional percussion in the school band and Middle-eastern percussion instruments. These skills would come in handy in the future.

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Rafael became a professional musician and music teacher, playing in many bands with different music styles, but mostly jazz and Brazilian music. In 2009, while teaching piano at a music school, a fellow teacher showed him a video from Youtube of an unusual instrument he thought Rafael would like, because of his interest in percussion; his interest in the handpan began there, and Rafael started looking for a handpan for sale, but at that time, it was rare and expensive. The difficulty to find an instrument led him to the idea of building one for himself, and in 2009, Rafael started his research on the whole making process. But there were few articles on the internet and limited access to the few makers at that time.

Until 2014, the project of building a handpan was in stand-by, but when the first handpan Rafael bought arrived (a Spacedrum), he set up an improvised workshop and focused on the mission of learning how to make handpans. He then left his other jobs as teacher and musician and dedicated himself completely to what would become Tacta Handpans.

His background as an Engineering student, professional musician and music enthusiast in general, where important stepping stones to making Tacta Handpans a real project, and it keeps helping with the routine of the workshop and the creation and production of the instruments.

Nowadays, Rafael is still carrying out studies about music, making, tuning and details about the handpan. He is dedicated to developing and improving the Tactas, and spreading the handpan in Brazil.

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