Inside the mind of Colin Carbonera of Rabino

Story by Colton O’Reilly
Photo by Cairo Carbonera

For Fans Of: Smoky Robinson, Al Greene, Charlotte Day Wilson, Daniel Caesar, Matt Corby.

I caught up with Colin Carbonera of Rabino after his breathtaking set at the Soul Bowl event at Paradise Lanes in February. We sat on rogue guitar amps in an eerily dark office, in the back corner of the bowling alley, with nothing but dim lights peering out from our iPhones. It was quiet, away from the clattering pins and excited show-goers, Carbonera began to impart to me the importance of the name Rabino.

“It’s my mom’s maiden name . . . and, in Spanish, it means teacher.”

Not only an ode to family and love, but, at the same time, the music strives to educate the audience in a multi-faceted way, through the intricate and complex chord structures, and by carefully selecting and hand-crafting each sentence so that it holds meaning, creates an impact, and emanates profundity.

After discussing the roles of teachers in our lives, Carbonera jokingly admitted that he does not have all the answers to life, but that he hopes to offer a few small truths that he has learned through his experiences, and his intrigue of life.

If you have listened to music in the past few millenniums, you may have noticed a common theme of love that continues to reappear over and over in popular – and un-popular – music. Carbonera notes that, in the past, he had this familiar urge as well to write lyrics that were “all about my boo, my baby, my girl,” but knew that he needed to strive for something deeper.

With a new little life in his world, Carbonera noted, “I want to write something that is going to be influential for my own son; I want to write something that is going to be meaningful.” Very teacher-like, but also very important. Important messages for becoming a new parent, being a Dad, and sharing your love and life with someone else.

“I want to write a ‘take-it-as-you-go manual’ for my kid; learn how to be kind, learn how to be compassionate, drop apathy, care about people, and stand up for others who are in need.”

 Creating art in any medium can produce the sensation of being overwhelmed, especially when you have various aspects of your life all flourishing simultaneously.

Carbonera and I discussed feeling guilty about not going out to more live shows, and supporting the people in our industry, our friends. This is something all musicians who are conscious of their scene will think about and, hopefully, reflect upon. It can feel like a bit of a double standard: you want others to come to your shows, but can’t manage the time to attend every event yourself.

We both agreed that we all try to do our best to support live music, promote our local scene, and give our time as much as we possibly can. We need to remember to not over-exert ourselves to the point where it affects our mental health, or our well-being. Sometimes you need to look a bit more inwardly, consider the art you are creating, and how that could possibly be more important than supporting other people’s art.

If you take time for your craft, regardless of how much you can give, if you can keep creating it, that is phenomenal.

You can listen to Rabino’s new track ‘Ninety-Five’  now, or catch them live:
March 15th –  B.Les & The Suede / Natural Twenty / City Sleep / Yvette @ KOI
March 22nd – I Am The Mountain @ Gravity’

Stay tuned for the music video for ‘Ninety-Five’ dropping March 8.