Omar Faruk Tekbilek

Omar Faruk Tekbilek

Omar Faruk Tekbilek, honored as a peacemaker and virtuoso, is one of the most sought-after musicians. A musical prodigy, he was born in Adana, Turkey, to a musical family who nurtured his talents. At the age of eight, he began his musical career and at the same time he studied religion with thoughts of becoming an imam.

In 1967, he moved to Istanbul where he was profoundly influenced by the mystical Sufi approach and fusion of sound and spirit. After establishing himself as one of the top session musicians in Turkey, he began touring Europe and Australia. By 1971 at the age of 20, he made his first tour of the United States as a member of a Turkish classical/folk ensemble.

Omar Faruk formed a band called the Sultans with an Egyptian keyboardist, a Greek bouzouki player, and his brother-in-law on percussion. It started as a pop band but very quickly turned into a sort of Pan-Near Eastern ensemble. They began to attract some attention within the circle of Middle Eastern dance fans and they recorded five albums.

Omar Faruk Tekbilek has since established himself as one of the world’s foremost exponents of Middle Eastern music. A multi-instrumentalist, he has collaborated with numerous leading musicians of international repute such as jazz trumpeter Don Cherry, keyboard player Karl Berger, ex-Cream rock drummer Ginger Baker, Ofra Haza, Simon Shaheen, Hossam Ramzy, Glen Velez, Bill Laswell, Mike Mainieri, Peter Erskine, Trilok Gurtu, Jai Uttal, Yasmin Levy, Tomatito, Enrique Morente and Steve Shehan among others. He has contributed to numerous film and TV scores and to many recordings including world sacred music albums, and has been touring extensively throughout the Middle East, Europe, Australia, North and South America.