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Cuba based rap duo, Zona Franka, blends traditional rhythms with the grit and swagger of hip-hop and rap vocal phrasings. Their clever shout choruses create instant tropical dance classics using their unique self-titled "changui con flow" style.

Omar Ledezma

instrumento/instrument: vocals & percussion

grupos/groups: La Timba Loca, Oscar Cartaya, Jackeline Rago, Gonzalo Grau

grabaciones/recordings: La Timba Loca (La Clave Secreta) "Frutero Moderno", 2007; Humbria "This is Humbria", 2006; Pearl Percussion DVD "Folkloric Percussion", 2005; Latin Percussion "Holiday CD", 2004 ; Patricia Elena "Origen", 2004 ; Berklee College of Music "Berklee Year '03", 2003 ; Sol y Canto "El doble de amigos", 2003 ; Edwin Pabon "Solo un tiempo", 2003 ; Edu Tancredi & Bandon 33 "Ongoing dreams", 2003 ; Monica Giraldo "Monica", 2002 ; La Timba Loca "Mas alla de la Habana", 2002; Marta Gomez "Marta Gomez", 2001 ; Oscar Stagnaro & Chuck Sher "The Latin Bass Book", 2001; Randy Felts "Zanzibar", 2001 ; Patricia Marturet "Muziki", 1999 ; Gonzalo Grau Quintet "Gonzalo Grau Quintet", 1999 ; Sonabo "Los artistas al poder", 1999 ; Mohame Kalifa Kamara "Africa Unite", 1998; Jarana "Jarana", 1998; Ronald Ortega "Agridulce", 1997

lugar de nacimiento/birthplace: Caracas, Venezuela

formación musical/musical background: Berklee College of Music, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

lugar actual de residencia/current residence: San Francisco, CA


Omar was born in Caracas, Venezuela. He began to develop his first drum skills at age of 13, when drumming for the marching band of Colegio Claret in El Hatillo, Caracas. At 16 he started playing hand percussion with friends in small ensembles and began studying with percussionists Jorge "Cro-Cro" Orta and Ruben Garcia. He attended USM Law School in Caracas and received his degree in Law in 1995, but his passion for music kept him playing and participating in big music competitions, when he started to get recognition for his performances. In 1990 he made his first trip to Cuba to study with master of afro Cuban percussion, Jose Luis "Changuito" Quintana. Omar began as a professional musician by playing and recording in Venezuela with more than 30 bands and artists include Guaco, Jarana, Jenny and Gerardo Rosales. At this point, he is very demanded to start percussion private lessons at his house. He also receives a scholarship to continue studies in Afro-Venezuelan percussion in the renowned training program of Popular Culture by the Bigott Foundation in Caracas.

In 1998 he packed one bag and one drum and moved to United States to explore new horizons. He received The North American Scholarship to attend the prestigious Berklee College of Music and during college years, Omar kept a busy schedule at the Latin music scene of Boston and New York, playing, recording and touring with International Artists such as Jerry Rivera, Tito Gomez, Paquito D' Rivera, Edwin Pabon, Alex Alvear & Mango Blue, Bandon 33, Mo Guajiro and Jose Conde. In Boston, Omar becomes lead singer of the most important House band in New England, at Sophia's Bar, and he is also a founder member of La Timba Loca, a Contemporary Afro-Cuban Band, with them he made his second trip to Cuba sharing the stage with Los Van Van, Pupy y Los que son son, Issac Delgado and Buena Vista Social Club star Eliades Ochoa, during the Benny More Festival in 2003. He also has been invited to play two consecutive years in the Flamenco International Festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico; played with the most important flamenco artists of USA and Spain such as Joaquin Grillo, Omayra Amaya, Joaquin Encinias, El Veneno and Chuscales in the show "Son Y Soniquete". His extensive experience in the Afro-Venezuelan percussion style and vocal qualities has been demanded for most of the Venezuelan Artists in USA, including Aquiles Baez, Gonzalo Grau, Irene Farrera, Marco Granados, Maria Marquez and Jackeline Rago & the Snake Trio.

During this time, Omar keeps his compromise with the education, participating in the program to the Massachusetts public schools “Manguito”, led by 2004 Latin GRAMMY nominee Alex Alvear. After seven years living in the East Coast, Omar moved to California to work in different projects with Santana's singer Andy Vargas, Fausto Cuevas (Britney Spears), Rumbankete and Oscar Cartaya's Band in Los Angeles, with appearances in the most important places of L.A. music scene such Mama Juana's, Spazio, The Baked Potato and presentations on TV, participating in the 6th Latin GRAMMY Awards television show.

Now he is currently living in the Bay Area, where he already has been performed in the San Francisco Symphony's "Adventures in Music" Program, teaches music to the summer program of the Katherine Michiels School, playing local gigs such as Eric Rangel & Orquesta America, Edgardo Cambon & Candela, The Venezuelan Music Project, Humbria, Rumbache, Michael Spiro & La Moderna Tradicion, Julius Melendez, Gary Flores & Descarga Caliente, and he is starting the production of his solo project under his own new recording indie label, OLEmusic Records.

Omar is endorsed by PEARL PERCUSSION.

Michelle White - Wednesday, 23 March 2011, 03:31 AM