Oakland’s Raphi Gottesman had all the usual 2020 challenges, but also a beautiful, young son, Misha, undergoing treatment for leukemia. The musical result is a brand new instrumental album called The Clarity of Dawn that deserves your attention.

It is available on cassette via German label AOsmosis and also on Raphi’s Bandcamp page in digital format. The record includes many special guests including locals Yea-Ming Chen (Rumours, Dreamdate), Michael James Tapscott (China) and John Bernson (Ray’s Vast Basement). All the amazing guitar and drum work is Raphi. He played drums for Sonny and the Sunsets, Fresh & Onlys, China and Odowas to name a few.

A few months ago, Raphi received an email from a local film student, Heather Tsang, who wanted to make a music video for the album’s first track “Black Coffee and the News.” They filmed in Raphi’s home studio, his neighborhood in Oakland (The Laurel) and the Don Edwards Refuge in Fremont. She also used some phone footage Raphi took at home and Kaiser Oakland where Misha receives chemotherapy. Raphi didn’t want to hide his son’s cancer but “hoped to show the bigger picture of his joy and strength and my love for him.”