An icon of the Canadian reggae scene has passed! Paul Anthony White, affectionately and famously known as Raffa Dean is no longer with us in the flesh yet his powerful, beautiful spirit continues to elevate this genre even with his seemingly sudden passing. It is normal human emotion to grieve for the loss a friend / family member yet when great souls pass, I feel also a sense of joy as their energy gets spread amongst us who knew them and they live on through me / us as well as through the music.
Raffa pretty much affected everyone!
He had a smile for everyone...and a story...lol... best story teller in the world! Yet he lived a ton of life! Jammed with almost every musician or band that ever came through Toronto and other parts of Canada.
Widely considered as the most talented and creative drummer to have played reggae music in Canada, Raffa was called to save the night for many a band. As a onetime band manager I personally had to go hunt Raffa down once when we had a big show and he came through. He was also a member of a few units himself, like freedubstar whom he performed with just recently at the Cadillac Lounge, as well as the Resinators, Big Sugar and the Dream Band.
He seemed to just love to play and when he did, he brought joy not only to his band mates but also to the audience at large. He seemed to make eye contact with anyone at any time during his performances and share a joke with you and cackle away while playing and not miss a beat! It was always fun to watch him perform!
The thing is, this is one of the most talented reggae drummers / musicians who were not only blessed with the skill but more with that authentic reggae vibe, being born from and of Jamaica. Some folks have mentioned to me in the past few days that they feel saddened that they weren't given an opportunity to share knowledge with him. This situation that we all find ourselves in, losing one of the originators / originals is the reason that I continue to bring live reggae music to Toronto and Canadian audiences.
Blessings to you Raffa Dean for inspiring me!
The outpouring of love and emotion that I have received from many, many, many of you since the news broke, is a testament to who Raffa was and what he meant not only to live reggae music but to each and every individual that he touched.
I must say how honored I feel to have witnessed him work hundreds of times and all I can see is his mischievous grin all night long. He seemed to make the music better and more importantly, I do feel blessed to have called him my friend.
Jah guide Raffa Dean, until we meet again.
on behalf of all who fulljoyed your earthly essence