Raphael Bas

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Raphaël Bas

Guitarist and harmonica player Raphaël Bas has been composing and performing music since junior high school. He grew up in Bourges, France where over the years he was exposed to a wide variety of music and artistic styles performed by world class musicians at the renowned Printemps de Bourges music festival.  This is in fact where Raphaël first performed on an international stage at the age of 15.

His major musical influences are Django Reinhardt, Manitas De Plata and Paco De Lucia, but he has also been influenced by Gus Viseur's and Jo Privat's Swing and Musette styles. Since immigrating to the United States over two decades ago, he has played many genres including Blues, Flamenco, Funk, Reggae, and various types of Jazz. In his early years in Houston he backed former Big Brother and the Holding Company guitarist Sam Andrew.

These influences are heard in his music, particularly in the intricately interwoven guitar parts he plays. Regardless of whether he is playing solo or backing other band members, Raphaël does not just follow the more traditional approach of playing block chords behind the soloist, he stands out by offering a genuinely creative performance.

Raphaël has performed internationally as a single act, as a duo, and with full ensembles across Australia, in the UK where he resided for over two years, France and across the US touring with different artists and bands.

Raphaël currently lives and works in New Orleans where he pursues his musical vocation, playing French gypsy swing while incorporating the sound of New Orleans trad jazz into his repertoire. He co-founded and performed with the award winning band Vavavoom which emerged from returning musicians after Hurricane Katrina eager to help bring back the vibrant life and sound of the Big Easy. During his tenure with Vavavoom they recorded two successful CDs, one of which was voted one of the best albums of the decade by the famous New Orleans based radio station WWOZ 90.7 FM.

Performing in New Orleans, Raphaël has had the opportunity to work with many noted bands and musicians including the Jazz Vipers, Don Vappie, the Treme Brass Band, and Zazou City to name a few. He also participated and performed over the years at most major music festival in the region including the French Quarter Fest, Jazz Fest, Satchmo Fest, Voodoo Fest, Festival International Francophone de Lafayette, etc. He is currently performing in and around New Orleans under his own name and his band Harmonouche. He teams up frequently with other local musicians, including the world renown accordionist, Norbert Slama, performing a repertoire mainly around the traditional French Musette, Gypsy Jazz or “Manouche“ and New Orleans Trad Jazz.

Raphaël's latest recording project is the third Harmonouche release, NolAmour. The CD highlights the jazz diatonic harmonica, played on the rack along with the jazz guitar. In combination with the guitar and harmonica are more traditional instruments performed by significant New Orleans musicians such as Chris Kohl on clarinet, Bart Ramsey on piano and accordian, Pasqual Valcasara on saxaphone and more.