AN AMERICAN musician who can’t return to his home in Cyprus because of restrictions in place to combat coronavirus Covid-19, is giving free weekly concerts in Uttoxeter. Raphael Orlando Tate is staying with friends in the town, after becoming stranded in the UK.
At the weekend, he decided to spread cheer and encouragement to the community by giving a concert in his friends’ back garden – and is planning a repeat of the event every Saturday during lock down.
Raphael, 36, had travelled to the UK to record his new single and perform a series of shows, but within days of his arrival, pubs and venues across the country were closed and the country went into lock down.
He said: “On a previous visit to the UK I’d had to cancel a show at short notice and the airline I’d travelled with lost my luggage, so I’d lost some musical equipment and a lot of belongings.
“I’d already planned to come back to visit my friends in Uttoxeter and promote my single, but instead I was coming back to finish recording it and perform a few shows.
“Within a couple of days the Government shut all the venues down. Covid-19 grounded me and I couldn’t get back to Cyprus. My friends allowed me to stay with them, so now I’m here.”
Growing up in a musically talented family in Washington DC, Raphael earned a scholarship to Morgan State University in Baltimore and later worked as a Freedom of Information officer for local government.
But he yearned for a change of direction and eventually took a teaching post in Egypt where he reignited his passion for music and launched his own music programme.
After living through the revolution there, he took a holiday to Cyprus and, in time, moved there permanently. As well working as a backing vocalist, he studied musical engineering and began to work on his own sound.
In 2017 his single With Every Beat of My Heart, reached 25 in the American Billboard and 15 in the UK charts. His Covid-19 Stay At Home House Party includes a series of covers from well known bands and artists.
Raphael said: “I like to think that I’m a positive person and I believe that every problem has a solution, so I wanted to encourage my friends here and my friends and family in the States, and spread a bit of cheer to the neighbours.
“A lot of people have lost someone to Covid-19, people are lonely or they’ve been laid off – it’s not an easy situation that we all have to go through. We may not be able to speak to each other face to face right now, but I can share my gift and bring the love and some encouragement.”
Raphael’s back garden concert was live streamed on Facebook and videoed by neighbours. He has received scores of comments welcoming his concert and was even given a card and gift by one grateful listener.
He added: “It was amazing. The main comment was that people felt uplifted and that was the main thing for me. It was a beautiful thing.
“It made me think of Bob Marley – ‘don’t worry about a thing, cos every little thing is gonna be alright’ – if I can achieve anything that’s what I want everybody to know. Soon this will be over and everything will be alright.”
Raphael will be performing his Covid-19 Stay At Home House Party live on Facebook (search Raphael Prince of Soul Tate) at 4.30pm every Saturday during lock down His new single ‘Smile She Like Dat’ is planned for released at the end of April or early May.
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