ESTABLISHED IN LOVE
Kahua Records was born from the love of Raphael and Kutira in 1985. Being children of the Counterculture and seekers of Ancient Wisdom, they synthesized ideals of the Ancients and the Moderns into their art and music. Read about their individual journeys below.
Born in 1948, Raphael Sharpe was an only child who grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His father was a ragtime piano player who played at seedy bars and was also an excellent businessman. Although Raphael has likened his youngest years to “Leave it to Beaver,” he had a harrowing experience as a young child: “My Mom had a heart attack when I was five and she took me with her to the spirit world,” Raphael recalled. “I came back and saw her gasping for air.” Raphael called the operator for help, and an ambulance arrived in time to save her.
Growing up, Raphael’s mother was often sick and he was raised in part by Benedictine nuns at Catholic school as well as an Indian chief named Bushy Head. He witnessed one of the nuns playing a Bach fugue and “discovered authenticity”. After that, he was constantly practicing any instrument he could get his hands on.
Starting in 1968, Raphael attended college at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music for two years, preferring real world experience to the likes of institutional, such as working as a church choir director and playing in rock and roll bands. A few years later, Raphael met Gabrielle Roth, a dancer who worked as a masseuse and dance teacher at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur. She convinced Raphael to join her there in 1972, where he stayed for 12 years as the main musician to accompany her shamanic dances. At Esalen, Raphael started teaching his own workshops, conducting weekly romantic chamber concerts, and performing psychic readings set to music, which he called “musical portraits” of the guests, eventually performing over a thousand of these.
At Esalen, Raphael met many of the major new age thinkers of the day, like Joseph Campbell, Wayne Dyer, John C. Lilly and Dr. Emmett Miller. Raphael would go on to provide music for various guided meditations by Miller and others. In 1985, Raphael put out an early version of *Music to Disappear In* which would soon far outsell any other release he’d done before. “So many people have come up and told me that one of their family members died while listening to it,” mentioned Raphael, “the Death and Dying Institute use it a lot too.” The tape was extremely popular, eventually moving 500,000 copies, enough to make it one of the best-selling new age releases of the decade.
In 1989, Raphael married the Swiss-born Kutira Decosterd, a tantra teacher. She influenced Raphael to start doing healing work of his own, and the two moved to Hawaii in 1990 to start their own eco retreat, Maui Eco Retreat. They released a [documentary] (https://www.thedanceofearthandspirit.com/) in 2012 called *The Dance of Earth and Spirit* about the origins of Maui Eco Retreat and the Kahua Institute, an organic farm and sustainably constructed eco retreat. The couple currently lives on Maui.
Kutira’s Journey into Music
In 1988, Kutira felt guided by a meaningful dream to go to The Dolphin and Whale Conference in Australia. Little did she know that she would enter a magical and Shamanic world that would weave through her soul a thread of music, one that inspired her and many others on a visceral level.
At a ceremony with Aboriginal Shaman Burnam Burnam in the Blue Mountains, as Kutira experienced a night in a Dreamtime state, she played the didgeridoo with natural circular breathing. It was as if the memories had come through the past life of that instrument. At the time, it was unheard of for a white woman to play, but throughout the night, she “remembered” as if she had never been without it. She laughably noted that later she had to go back for initiation and instruction because she couldn’t remember how to play during her waketime.
In 1989 she record her first album “Into the Dreamtime,” accompanied by Shamanic drummer, Suru Frank Ekeh.
“That’s where I met Raphael at the recording studio in Big Sur where he added his genius musical talent to my “Meditation into the Dolphin Consciousness”. That’s how we started our magical lives together.”
As if another Shaman had entered her life, Raphael opened the door of her soul to express through her voice. Even tho she was told in school that she could not sing, she never considered that music would ever be such a rich part of her life.
As Kutira has lived in India and took refuge with other spiritual masters she had dedicated a large part of her life to Tantra, the path of the Heart. With Raphael, they composed music such as “Tantric Wave” and “Tantric Wave Ritual” to support the beauty of this art.
From that first visit to Australia to living in Hawaii, life had magically transformed in so many ways for Swiss-born Kutira. In Hawaii she became a student of Kumu Hula Auli’i Mitchell from the Big Island, learning traditional Hawaiian chanting (mele) and dancing (hula). Out of this rich heritage, Raphael and she created the album, “The Calling,” dedicated to Hawaiian music. Their spiritual union of over 30 years led to many other albums and concerts internationally. Their contribution with live music in their retreats and teaching of Embodied Spirituality and Sustainability continues to be deeply appreciated by their students. Kutira and Raphael continue their musical path together to this day. Among the many music CD’s, Kutira also recorded guided meditations and poetry work. Her speaking voice allows the listener to relax and experience their own inner soul.
With so many lives, Kutira’s bio is very extensive. For her other accomplishments, click here.
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