Draska is a musician, composer and producer driven by the force of cultural and musical diversity, integrating african instruments into modern music styles (Singer-songwriter/world music/reggae/pop/rock/organic electro)
Draska is tearing down musical frontiers and his compositions interplay with the richness of the n’Goni, by using pedal effects and altering it’s originally pentatonic scale.
His mellow at once bittersweet voice is melting with the n’Goni and exploring electrifying African rhythms, coloured with African Instruments and underlined with background-vocals arrangements from around the world.
Draska offers a choice of 3 formules: Draska solo (including live looping), Draska duo (with percussionist and looping), Draska band (N’Goni, Bass, Percussion, Balafon, BgrVocalist).
“Draska is instant-creating and exploring various universes; from Ethiopian melodies to meditative chillout fields up to psycedelic trance beats and sounds that end up with singer/songwriter compositions; an adventure that is and will never be the same as there are as many ways of expression as there are moments”.
THE STORY In 2007, Daniel Raster, also known as DrasTa or DrasKa, travels to Burkina Faso to explore West African Music and Culture. Enriched by his experiences he starts creating compositions that blends ancient traditions of West African with western urban poetry.
The concept Draska starts as a duo with Draska and the Singer/Dancer Kadidia Traoré from Burkina Faso.
From 2007 to 2011 they settle down in Lisbon, Portugal, having street performances for the famous Cafe Brasileira on Largo do Chiado in the heart of Lisbon. Over the years they become an important part of the daily live on the streets of Lisbon.
They also travel around Europe playing on the streets and having concerts in Spain, Germany, Denmark, Ireland, England and Switzerland.
Their first EP “Lanaja” they record in a Studio in Lisbon, a simple and tradition-oriented piece with Balafon, Djembe and Kadidias voice.
Their first Album “Along the way” follows just one year later and is the debut of the group’s unique concept that characterises Draska until today; to blend ancient traditions of west African with Western urban poetry. It’s recorded in Drasta’s home studio in Lisbon.
In 2009 the Mozambican percussionist Helder Tsetse and the Portuguese double-bass player Afonso Castanheira are joining the band. Later the band becomes a quintet with multi-percussionist Joao Ferreira from Angola.
“Along the Way” sells quite well on the streets of Lisbon and wherever the group is moving. Fans are waiting for more, and “Babylon will fall (2010)” is the groups answer. A surprising Album as it is exploring many different styles with African Instruments, giving various directions of possible ways to go.
The same year, Draska is collaborating with Ivan Goite to produce the Musicvideo “A Peaceful Remedy”, which is broadcasted on the national TV in Portugal. The impact of “Babylon will Fall” is remarkable and as a result they manage to organise a tour in Portugal and perform at Festivals like the MedFestival in Algarve or the Festival Todos in Lisbon.
Even though Draska is more and more playing on stages, they keep on performing on the streets of Portugal as it stays their base for selling Cd’s and interact with their fans and public.
Or, the way Drasta himself puts it:
“The street offers you thousands of potential fans passing by with the deep but often hidden urge to escape from their daily routine. If you manage to make them stop, listen and enjoy these moments of escape you have saved your day. In order to achieve this goal and touch the audience, you need to analyse your surrounding, feel the energy of the moment and let the music express itself through you and your audience. This makes playing on the streets a challenging and courage-taking but at the same time full filling way of expressing art.
Playing on a stage becomes a pushover compared to the street as you get an audience already waiting for your performance.”
In 2011 it becomes harder and harder to continue street-performance in Lisbon with a more and more right-handed government that is bearing down the right of free expression of art in the streets. The police interrupts the street-performances of Draska and declines several times to give them a performing – licence. There are multiple manifestations of the residents of Lisbon defending Draska, as their music has become part of their habits and it was an enrichment for the tourists visiting this charming capitol of Portugal.
Finally the band decides to find new grounds and opportunities and is moving to Toulouse, France. They animate the sunday market of Saint-Aubin in Toulouse where their unique concept becomes known very fast. Associations start to invite them for concerts and they play at several festivals (Sam Africa, Festival Muret, Fete de ligue de droit de l’homme, Festival d’Avignon, etc).
The end of 2011 means a big transition for the group as the principal singer Kadidia is leaving the band. Draska finds himself in the difficult situation to restructure and redefine the concept that has been characterised by this Duo with a female Singer and was defined by the crossing of an african female voice interacting with his european singer/songwriter style.
He’s focusing on creating new Songs that are living from his virtuous and contemporary way of playing the N’goni and becomes lead-singer. He’s working with different musicians in France, still with Tsetse on the Calabash, performing in clubs, bars and at festivals in France with his new program.
Beginning of 2012 Draska travels again to Burkina Faso where he’s inviting musicians to collaborate on the new album. He’s diving deep into the african culture and life and is organising with his friend and percussionist Abdoulaye Sere concerts in Bobo Dioulasso with “Dafina Touba” (more informations under “Music” “Draska and Dafina Touba”). This is the most intense experience for Draska in terms of rebuilding a concept.
Back in France he’s producing the VideoClips “Drive me crazy” and “Paradise” as a pre-release of the new album “Higher”. In summer 2012 Draska is performing at several festivals and is amongst others opening act for Dobet Gnaohré at the festival Bagiliba.
One of Draskas central intention in 2012 is to invite the team of musicians from Burkina Faso to France. Unfortunately the visa applications are refused due to French s unfavourable immigration politic. Draska’s point of view on this topic: “What is this world where people created boarders in order to take control and gain power? who are we to dare appropriating what’s supposed to be shared? Colonisation is a shandy filled mark in human kinds history and post colonisation still goes on pretending to help, in order to exploit. There is no materialistic poverty without materialistic richness, it’s all set up. Fortunately there is hope as there are other forms of richness fare beyond the materialistic, and these spirits and energies are untouchable in their purity!”
In Winter 2012 Drasta finalises his new record “Higher”, the new Album that has been recorded over a period of one year in France and Burkina Faso with the contribution of talented Artists from France and Burkina Faso.
Draska stays an independent artist with a homemade production, insisting on the peace of uncensored freedom of creativity, with the indestructible urge to unite people with the natural force of music and to be a messenger of cultural and musical diversity.
“There is no way to put into cases what’s supposed to be an evolving process, live is a constantly moving and transforming adventure, day becomes night to become day again, and after the rain comes the sun. This is the un static balance of live, and Music it’s pure reflexion. As a composer and musician I have the blessing to be an antenna between the spirits of nature and a public, there is no bigger gift to ask for”.
Since 2014 Draska is performing mainly in central america, he lives in Costa Rica and is currently recording 2new Albums coming out end of 2016.