Omari Quarles is a West African percussionist who specializes in playing the djembe and dundun. His 20 year career includes studying, teaching, and performing. Having Ya-Yah Quarles (accomplished West African teach and performer) as a father established the family tradition which is to learn and teach, Omari was influenced by his father's commitment to family, educating the community, and the value of consistency. The late Dadisi Sanyika was another major influence in Omari’s life. Dadisi stressed education, preparation and even more than dance and drum, he taught culture. Omari strives to match the likes of Mamady Keita, Bassidi Kone, and Fode Seydou Bangoura. Their style, technique, and mastery to create music is formidable and inspiring. He has studied under his father Ya-Yah, Malik Sow, Rassan Khan, and Khalil Cummings. Collectively they have taught him that family is to be provided for and protected, community is to be unified, and that culture and tradition are to be learned and taught. Omari respects these men and patterns his life after their examples as men, fathers, educators, musicians, and producers of traditional African music. Omari’s influences and mentors have created a dynamic, innovative djembe and dundun percussionist/performer. As a community activist he participates in a myriad of events such as the Watts Towers Annual Day of the Drum, the Los Angeles Annual African Marketplace, and Taste of Soul. He brings African culture to venues such as the Long Beach Aquarium, Japanese American Cultural Community Center as well as weddings, parties, and schools (Cal State Universities, and Cal Poly Pomona). Omari has completed the cycle through teaching. He teaches percussion at MacArthur Park in Long Beach to a group of students that are a mixture of local students and students performing community service hours.