Omer Makessa is a master percussionist, experienced performer and singer and songwriter from Martinique in the Caribbean; an island with a vibrant multi-cultural music scene. Omer grew up in a musical family, introduced to music by his father from a young age.
“Since childhood the traditional music of the Caribbean has always been close to my heart. Even when still a teenager I brought together my first fusion band, using
traditional and modern instruments - pretty radical for its time on a colonial French island. We were on the radio and performed all over the Caribbean”.
Omer moved to France in his early twenties, where he expanded his repertoire, learning from West African Master Drummers Mamady Keita (djembe), Soungalo Colibaly (djun djun) and Adama Dramé (djembe/soloist).
An accomplished musician with extensive knowledge of African, Latin and Caribbean styles, Omer fuses these styles in his own compositions:
“In my music, one can hear the influence from the beautiful island of my origin with its complex history and fusion of cultures. This inspires my music and my unique singing style."
Omer has now been living in Bristol for the last fourteen years, collaborating with different bands and artists.
For several years he worked and performed internationally as lead vocalist for Mankala - a Bristol based band playing Afrobeat and Afro-Caribbean fusion music.
“I communicate the spirit and the impulsive and happy lifestyle of Martinique in my songs; which connect to life, love, nature and come from deep within my heart.”
Omer sings in three languages, reflecting the fusion of cultures in the Caribbean. It is rare for audiences in the UK to have the opportunity to listen to songs in French, Creole, and English.
He also works extensively in the UK as a workshop leader – in both drumming workshops and working with professional dancers.