Omar grew up in a Palestinian family in Cleveland, Ohio, playing the doumbek with teachers from Jerusalem, Jordan, Turkey and Egypt. He played in a professional Dabke band as a teen. Soon Omar wanted to break tradition and start his own, passion driven experience.
Collaborating with belly dancers started in 2013 in Cleveland with the Ohio Burn Unit, a Fire Performance group, touring with Ameera Paone, and sponsoring well over 50 djembe Percussion Workshops at Cleveland University and Nelson Ledges Quarry Park. He also sponsored a workshop with Turkish percussion/kemence phenome, Raquy Danziger. Omar began study with Master Djembefola, Baba Assane Mbaye and Master Percussionist and public figure, Elec Wayne, honing his Afro-Funk and Latin Jazz percussion skills playing with bands all over Ohio. Omar soon took his talents to Nashville, TN, immediately joining Ed Haggard & the Love Drums. He continued to study the rhythms of Africa and learned to build and repair djembes.
Exploring further opportunities, Omar moved to Colorado in 2015, drumming for belly dancers in Denver including Rafi’ah Ruyah’s Mercury Cafe Haflas.
Omar’s tasty percussion soon powered the national touring act, Gipsy Moon, recognized in the Folk/Bluegrass scene. He performed on stage with the New Mastersounds, Elephant Revival, Rising Appalachia, Railroad Earth, Leftover Salmon, Fruition, the California Honeydrops, the Grammy Nominated String Quintet, the Infamous Stringdusters, Railroad Earth, The Expendables, Devotchka, Blondie, Cake, and Mandolin Orange, as well as performance-arts groups MarchFourth, Samba Stilt Circus, and Fractal Tribe. Festivals include Sonic Bloom, Arise, High Sierra Music Festival, The Divide Music Festival, Northwest String Summit, the Oregon Country Fair, and many more. Omar has played at The Great American Music Hall, The Mint LA, the House of Blues, the Fox, and internationally televised, Music City Roots in Nashville. Omar has diverse experience with all genres.
By touring the United States four times, recording two albums, and performing on stages all over the country, Omar Al T’bal Mansour is now a seasoned studio musician and percussion teacher, always open to new projects. He is Artist in Residence at Myra Krein’s Pomegranate Studio in Santa Fe, NM, each October with Meg York’s Hejazz Messengers, and has a fusion collaboration with Colorado University Orchestra’s Gregory Walker.
He’s delighted to join Tarab Retreat for percussion groups, zills, dancer drum solo, and lead dabke line dance. Omar has become a beloved musician in the Front Range of Colorado.
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