Rafael Angel ‘Tito’ De Gracia was born on April 4, 1962 in Villa Palmeras, Santurce, Puerto Rico. He began playing the tumbadoras (congas) at 5 years of age and at 12 he was seriously playing the bongos and the timbales. He also studied the trumpet from 14 to 16 years old. Still in his adolescence, he joined the band Los Chiquitines del Son as a percussionist, directed by renowned guitarist Max Torres.
From 1978 to 1980, he played the timbales with the salsa band Maldades, lead by pianist Archie Pereira. Later, from 1980 to 1982, he played congas with saxophonist Hector Lopez and his orchestra in San Juan, recreating the music of Machito, Tito Puente and Tito Rodriguez. In ’82 he joined up with La Panamericana orchestra, under the direction of trumpeter Carlos ‘Coamito’ Rodriguez.
In 1984, due to his consistent and brilliant performances, De Gracia, was signed with the company Latin Percussion as spokesman. The company has honored him with his own set of signature timbales. From 1985 to 1990, he joined bongo player Roberto Roena’s Apollo Sound orchestra playing the timbales. After which he became timbalero with renowned salsa singer Andy Montañez.
From 2002 until today, he has also performed with the band Truco y Zaperoko and with Rumbantela, along with many recordings and performances with the likes of Mark Anthony, Willie Colon, Celia Cruz, Oscar D’ Leon, Luis Enrique, Trina Medina, Ismael Miranda, Andy Montañez, Jerry Rivera, Eddie Santiago, Ricardo Arjona, Chayanne and Franco de Vita, pianist Papo Lucca, flute players Nestor Torres and Dave Valentin and with trumpetist Humberto Ramirez and singer Tego Calderon.