Rafael "Tito" De Gracia was born on April 4, 1962 in Villa Palmeras, Santurce a suburb of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Even though there were no musicians in his inmidiate family, his parents and sisters (Rafael and Maria, his older sisters
Marisol and Grisselle) were always listening to latin and tropical music, this influenced him and to choose percussion as his specialty.
He started playing tumbadoras when he was five and by twelve he was playing bongoes and timbales. At age fourteen he started to study the trumpet at Luis Llorens Torres Community Center in Santurce, Puerto Rico and percussion at Escuela Libre de Música in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico.
During his early adolescence he was the percussionist for the group "Los Chiquitines Del Son", under direction of know guitarist Maximo Torres. From 1978 to 1980 he was timbalero for group "Maldades" directed by pianist Archie Pereira.
From 1980 to 1982 Tito played tumbadoras with the "San Juan"
orchestra under direction of saxofonist Hector López, this
orchestra played the music of the Machito, Tito Puente and Tito Rodríguez ochestras. From this orchestra he went on to play tumbadoras with the "Panamericana" orchestra under the
direction of trumpetist Carlos "Coamito" Rodríguez from 1982
During 1985 to 1990 he became timbalero player for Roberto Roena''s "Apollo Sound" and bongo player for Carlos "El Cano"
Estremera''s Orchestra. From 1990 to 1999 Tito became the timbalero of Andy Montañez orchestra, and from the year 1999
to present he is playing with the Michael Stuart orchestra
where he plays acombination of timbales and drums. He is also playing with "Truco y Zaperoco" as well as "Rumbantela"
groups, where he performs with Oskar Cartaya (bass), Edsel Gómez (piano), David Rosado Cuba (percussion), Frankie Pérez
(sax), Humberto Ramírez (trumpet and flugel horn) and Eguie Castrillo (percussion). He also plays batá drums, minor percussion and key board.
During the last decades Tito De Gracia has been part of recorded with different orchestras in different music genres.
In the "Salsa" genre he has recorded with such notables as Tito Allen, Mark Anthony, Luisito Carrión, Willie Colón, Celia Cruz, Charlie Cruz, Luis Enrique, "Cano" Estremera, Trina Medina, Jery Medina, Ismael Miranda, Andy Montañez, Jerry Rivera, Eddie Santiago, Cheo Feliciano and Michael Stuart.
In the "Caribbean Fusion" genre he records with "Truco y Zaperoco".
In the "Tropical" genre he has recorde with Ricardo Arjona,
Chayanne, Yolandita Monje, Ednita Nazario, Ricky Martin, Franco de Vita, Lourdes Robles, and Chayanne.
In the Latin Jazz he has worked and continues to work with
panist Papo Luca, flautists David Valentin, Nestor Torres,
and the trumpetist Humberto Ramírez.
In the "Sacred Music" genre he has worked with singer Ezequiel Colón and his orchestra, as well as with the David and Abraham "Religious Salsa" orchestra.
Since 1996 Tito directs his own group originally named "Seven Knights", now called "Naoka Jam" with this group he recently released his debut CD title "My Latin Roots" under his own label, ONC Records.
Tito is currently following the footsteps of music industry veterans Garth Brooks and Ruben Blades. He has total control of his recordings, arragements, and distribution of his musical material. As well as his publicity.
Multifaceted and talented he also teaches percussion to children and adults.
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