George Sepmeier is Music Director for Tarab Retreat 2019.  A multi-instrumental musician, actor, composer, and author from Denver, CO. He grew up in an artistic family acting, dancing, singing, and playing piano. In middle and high school he began playing viola, and recorded three albums with the East High School Orchestra. He was also an acting club member and performed in several musicals and plays including Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. George played viola briefly with the Metro State Orchestra before receiving his AA in Music Performance from Community College of Denver in 2016.

George is currently Principal Violist for the Broomfield Symphony Orchestra. He performs frequently as a solo violinist and singer/songwriter and with his World-Fusion Jazz band Phoenician Feathers. In 2017, George acted and played Turkish Oud in The Bitsy Stage’s show The Silent Princess: A Turkish Tale. George is also a composer and writes music for many genres including world, metal, funk, jazz, and classical.  George released his first Single ‘Fools Gold’ in Nov. 2017. 

 Eric Zang is a multi-instrumentalist on kaval (flute), oud (fretless lute), cajon (box drum), and a variety of percussion. He is an avid explorer of traditional music from around the world, with much performance Flamenco experience and in bringing flavors of Middle Eastern, Persian, African and Indian music to his ensembles


Tahra Eissa


Tahra Eissa is a Denver-based musician originally from the Chicagoland area. Born to an Egyptian-Armenian household, she was surrounded by music of the Middle East but was originally taught in the Western music tradition on piano, flute and voice. Tahra discovered the joys of performing Middle Eastern music during her undergraduate studies when she took up qanun- the Middle Eastern lap harp. She has since participated in numerous classical ensembles including the Cornell Middle Eastern Music Ensemble and University of Chicago Middle Eastern Music Ensemble as well as a diverse set of takhts ranging from Balkan and Persian music to bluegrass, rock, and gypsy jazz. She has worked under the direction of artists such as Simon Shaheen, AJ Racy, Wanees Zarour, Issa Boulos, Jim Stoynoff, and Ronnie Malley. Currently, she is also involved in the Naghma Fusion Project and North African Al

Nabin Shrestha

Joining us from Boulder, Nepalese Hindustani classical musician Nabin Shrestha is a multi-instrumentalist on Indian Tabla. 

Since Nabin’s early childhood, music has always been an essential part of his life and “Tabla” is the medium by which he was introduced to the world of music and rhythm. In combination with the guidance of his Guru Shree Rabin Lal Shrestha and truly inspired by Brother Rajendra Shrestha, Nabin began learning tabla at the age of (9) nine years old. To this day, he still views himself as a continuing student in an ever expanding exploration of the beauty in musically interpreting dynamic rhythmic sounds while performing the Tabla. While pursuing his academic studies in music, Nabin received a scholarship from the Indian Council for Cultural Relationship to pursue music at Aakhil Bharatiya Gandharva Music University of Delhi. During his stay in India he got the rare opportunity to further develop his knowledge with some of the greatest musical masters/gurus such as, Ustaad Shri Faiyaaz Khan and Shri Tansen Shrivastav. Upon completion of a Master’s Degree from Ghandharva Nabin received an exceptional opportunity to further his musical studies under the guidance of the greatest tabla maestro of all time ”Taalmani Pandit Sureshji Talwalkar”.

After completion of his master’s degree in music, Nabin has been busy with various recordings, performances and music lesson offerings at the University in Nepal. Nabin has recorded various albums Raaganubhuti A Classical Vocal Album, Redrums Fusion with traditional drums from Nepal and Murchchhanaa Jazz fusion album.

At present, he is in the US performing with wonderful artists of various genre , recording, composing music and a offering Tabla lessons.

Rhythm of Tabla

The Parson Sisters BAnd: Clara Byom and MIRINISA STEWART-TENGCO

Clara Byom is an Albuquerque-based multi-instrumentalist (clarinet, bass clarinet, piano, and accordion), musicologist, and educator.  ​She performs contemporary classical music and a variety of folk dance music, including Jewish klezmer, contra, English Country, Balkan, Scottish, and Irish.  Clara is a founding member of Di Kavene Kapelye, Edith Boulevard, The Parson Sisters, Odd Butterflies, and co-founder/co-director of New Mexico Contemporary Ensemble.  Additionally, she performs regularly with Dust City Opera and serves on the board of the New Mexico Folk Music and Dance Society.  As of Fall 2018, she serves as the first Development Director of the newly founded nonprofit organization, The Klezmer Institute.  A graduate of the University of New Mexico (Master of Music in Clarinet Performance and Musicology), Clara has researched mid-century American klezmer music for her master’s thesis entitled “Mixing in Too Much Jewish: American Klezmorim in New York City from 1950-1970.” Since the Summer of 2014, she has done archival work for the Center for Traditional Music and Dance in New York City, primarily digitizing and cataloging the field recordings of 2015 National Heritage Fellow Michael Alpert, a leading figure in the klezmer revitalization.  In 2012, Clara received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Luther College in Decorah, IA.

 Albuquerque, NM, native Mirinisa Stewart-Tengco plays violin/fiddle in this band, and percussion (and some other things) in other contexts including with Rusty Tap, an Albuquerque band specializing in contra and English Country dance. Coming from a musical background of twelve years in the Suzuki Method of classical violin and seven in the Albuquerque Youth Symphony Program.  She has delved into West African drumming, and is a avid dancer herself.   

Sina Goharjou & Zara Sadeghi


Persian Daf

Born and raised in Iran, husband and wife Sina Goharjou & Zara Sadeghi now live in Colorado. They have a passion to play and share Persian Daf --the ancient frame drum with zangeer, or rings -- and are delighted to teach classes and tell us more about Daf's cultural significance. They have studied with Front Range musician Kaivon Tolooee as well as traveled to Iran, the birthplace of this mesmerizing and spiritual instrument.  The Daf is traditionally a ladies' instrument, however all are welcome.   Classes will be hands on and we will have some Daf for sale and as loaners. 

You may also bring frame drums if you do not have a Daf yet.  

Donovan Warnick and James Messerich

Donovan Warnick joins us from Wellington, Colorado.  A world traveler, activist, and community leader, he is a fixture in the Front Range and national level Society for Creative Anachronisms events.  Donovan has lead ensembles and accompanied live dance events for three decades.  He is a favorite teacher and performer at Elevation Belly Dance in Golden, CO, Estrella War, and Pensic War, as well as hosts events for live music and dance in Fort Collins.    

Since the age of 10 Donovan has been annoying those around him with his incessant drumming.  Initially focusing this energy into Colorado Honor Band, Donovan eventually joined the drum line of his high school marching band as well as the symphonic band and drum ensemble.   Once out of high school, percussion took a back seat to engineering studies at Colorado State University until the faithful day he stumbled upon the Society for Creative Anachronisms.  Within the S.C.A. (in which people re-create the middle ages) Donovan again found himself with a drum in hand, though this time it was hand percussion.  Garnering tremendous guidance and instruction from a dear friend; Billy “Sylvanus” Woods, Donovan continued to explore and develop his skills as a hand percussionist and a teacher reaching the level of Laurel, or Master of Drumming within the S.C.A. in 2018.   Over the years Donovan has taught and learned from hundreds of drummers of all ages, explored traditional Tabla Baladi and Riq technique with Souhail Kaspar, played with Denver based band “Jurjuna”, and performed with Colorado based band “Kara Nomadica” which recorded their full length self titled LP in 2008.  Donovan is a  studio artist for “Wine and Alchemy” on their 2010 album What Dreams May Come.  Donovan performs with “Dragon Song”. 

Hailing from Wellington, CO, his love for world music and soul-lifting percussion continues to drive his musical aspirations and teaching to this day.


Ensemble percussion player, James Messerich joins us from Arvada, Colorado.

Originally from a small Dutch town in upstate New York, has lived in Tucson, Grants, Albuquerque, and Denver. He's been playing hand drums for over 30 years. His main instrument is the darbuka, along with the Riqq, frame drum and Bodhran. He plays Turkish, Arabic, Balkan, North African, and Israeli music, as well as American and Celtic folk. He has played with many Denver-area bands, including the Rhythm Slaves, Abbey Rogues, Sherefe & the Habibis, Dunya Divani, Saltanah, Skean Dubh, and Zuruna.   

Pete Jacobs


Pete Jacobs is Co-Director and our beloved House Bassist.  He lives in Broomfield, Colorado.   Pete started playing the bass in junior high school in New Jersey and played rock and jazz gigs in the Denver area throughout the 1980s and 1990s.  He was introduced to Middle Eastern music in the 1990's and started playing bass in the Saltanah Ensemble performing in the Denver and Boulder area.  He picked up the oud in 2003 and started attending the Mendocino Middle East Music and Dance Camp, where he studied under many great musicians, including Souhail Kaspar, Naser Musa, Yair Dalal, Scott Marcus, Yuval Ron, and Souren Baronian.  He played for years with Dawn Green for Susana Del Veccio's dance retreats.  Besides playing with Zuruna, Pete has also performed in the Denver and Boulder area with Yuval Ron, Rachid Halihal, the Zevk Ensemble, Meg York's Hejazz Messengers, and the Cameron Powers Project.   He hosts a Turkish Sufi Sing at his home, and accompanies Iranian Sufi singer Sholeh Malekzadeh Mani.  Pete is a big part of the Columbine Unity Church near Boulder, Colorado.  

Pete is co-founder of Tarab Retreat, an international live music and dance event in Colorado Springs that brings together musicians and dancers that crave live music.    

Pete especially loves the opportunity to make new personal and cultural connections through the gateway of music.  

Pete will lead Turkish Ilahi Sing-a-longs and guide our Opening and Closing Circles.

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Catrene Malshey Payan


Catrene is a sought after vocalist, author, composer and activist in the Front Range of Colorado.  She is featured on concerts at the Mercury Cafe, Dazzle Jazz, CU Boulder, Colorado College, CU Denver, Aurora Global Fest, the St. Ravka Lebanese festival, among many other cultural outreach events promoting world peace.  She often collaborates with Hal Aqua and the Lost Tribe.  

Her Middle Eastern ensemble Zuruna fosters the sensuous rhythms and sounds of music from North Africa, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Turkey, Israel and Palestine. As an Arab Israeli from Haifa, Ms. Malshey is dedicated to promoting songs of peace, love, and healing.

The ensemble includes Annie Aqua (violin), Pete Jacobs (oud), James Messerich (percussion), and Theo Anbacher-Hunt (percussion). Band info:

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Meg York

Meg York Is Co-Director of Tarab Retreat.  She grew up off-grid near the Village of Los Lunas, New Mexico surrounded by the sounds of Mexican, Spanish, Native American, and Jewish music.  Always drawn to eastern sounds and dance accompaniment,  Meg has a Performance Degree from the University of New Mexico in Clarinet, Flute and Flamenco Accompaniment. She studied under Eva Encinias Sandoval, Pablo Rodarte, and toured with Joaquin Encinias with Pablo Rodarte's Dance Espana. She has toured the US and Mexico multiple times playing Classical Western Orchestral music, Middle Eastern Fusion and Flamenco, and traveled extensively in Turkey and India. She is cast in the 2019 Denver Performing Arts Center Paula Vogel's Indecent. 

Meg is a Lifetime Member of the Eastern European Folklife Center and a Presenting Member of the International Society for Ethnomusicology.  She has lead ensembles at the Mendocino Middle Eastern Music and Dance Camp, Stockton International Camp, Society for Creative Anachronisms, and for Colorado Friends of Old Time Music and Dance events, is an Artist in Residence with the Athena Project, Denver, CO,  and Pomegranate Studios, Santa Fe, NM.  She founded the Farabi  Ensemble in collaboration with Ahmad Soufiani. Farabi plays for Front Range Persian events and also created a soundtrack for David Taylor Zikr Dance with  Shahrzad Khorsandi, choreographer. 

Now based in Colorado, Meg collaborates with Bella Diva Dance, Musical Ambassadors of Peace, Denver Spring Institute, and is the Director Denver Sister Cities' Worldwide Festival.

Music and dance build mindfulness and community bridges between the past and the future, so vital in our modern times.

Full Biography: