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RIP Castanets innovator Raymond Raposa

Multi-instrumentalist and former competitive surfer was 41

Raymond Raposa courtesy Asthmatic Kitty
Raymond Raposa courtesy Asthmatic Kitty

The singer-songwriter behind psychedelic folk-blues band the Castanets has passed away. “It is with great sorrow that the family of Raymond Raposa announce his passing today,” reads an online announcement from record label Asthmatic Kitty. “Raymond was a wonderful son, brother, uncle, friend, and musician.” Raposa passed away July 28 at the age of 41.

Asthmatic Kitty honcho and frequent Raposa collaborator Sufjan Stevens posted via Tumblr "He was a bright star, a good friend & a great musician. It was always such a joy & a fierce spiritual journey to work with him. Heavy hearts & deep sorrows over here. Ray, may your soul glimmer brightly on the other side! And may perpetual light shine upon you. I love you.”

Championed early on by Pitchfork, Raposa was a San Diego native who surfed competitively as a teen, later relocating to New York City. After starting the Castanets in the early 2000s, he remained the only constant member of the band, backed on record and onstage by a lineup known to change from night to night. While living in NYC with members of various bands, Fader magazine asked him "Who's the messiest?" Raposa replied "Me. For sure. Water bottles full of piss. A lot of beer cans. Some gnarled dishes." A 2006 sailboat tour earned the Castanets coverage in Newsweek and on MTV, VH1, CNN, Good Morning America, and ABC World News Tonight.

As of 2011, Raposa was residing in Portland, Oregon and performing live film soundtracks with Sufjan Stevens for screenings of a film the duo scored together, director Kaleo La Belle’s documentary Beyond This Place. Pitchfork described the Castanets as "spare funeral dirges, stompy guitar throwdowns, and planes of free-folk ping." Their Asthmatic Kitty album Cathedral earned an 8.5 and landed on Pitchfork's "Best New Music" list.

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Raymond Raposa courtesy Asthmatic Kitty
Raymond Raposa courtesy Asthmatic Kitty

The singer-songwriter behind psychedelic folk-blues band the Castanets has passed away. “It is with great sorrow that the family of Raymond Raposa announce his passing today,” reads an online announcement from record label Asthmatic Kitty. “Raymond was a wonderful son, brother, uncle, friend, and musician.” Raposa passed away July 28 at the age of 41.

Asthmatic Kitty honcho and frequent Raposa collaborator Sufjan Stevens posted via Tumblr "He was a bright star, a good friend & a great musician. It was always such a joy & a fierce spiritual journey to work with him. Heavy hearts & deep sorrows over here. Ray, may your soul glimmer brightly on the other side! And may perpetual light shine upon you. I love you.”

Championed early on by Pitchfork, Raposa was a San Diego native who surfed competitively as a teen, later relocating to New York City. After starting the Castanets in the early 2000s, he remained the only constant member of the band, backed on record and onstage by a lineup known to change from night to night. While living in NYC with members of various bands, Fader magazine asked him "Who's the messiest?" Raposa replied "Me. For sure. Water bottles full of piss. A lot of beer cans. Some gnarled dishes." A 2006 sailboat tour earned the Castanets coverage in Newsweek and on MTV, VH1, CNN, Good Morning America, and ABC World News Tonight.

As of 2011, Raposa was residing in Portland, Oregon and performing live film soundtracks with Sufjan Stevens for screenings of a film the duo scored together, director Kaleo La Belle’s documentary Beyond This Place. Pitchfork described the Castanets as "spare funeral dirges, stompy guitar throwdowns, and planes of free-folk ping." Their Asthmatic Kitty album Cathedral earned an 8.5 and landed on Pitchfork's "Best New Music" list.

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