PORTLAND – New to the Portland music scene, LOOPIN’ is an urban percussion ensemble playing international dance grooves with a contemporary twist. Led by renowned world percussionist and vocalist Shamou, the ensemble will make its Portland debut with a dance and drum party Friday, April 23 at the Center for Cultural Exchange.

Formed in 2003, the ensemble includes Tim Cooper, Brendan Ferri, Jeff McCreight and Dylan Blanchard. LOOPIN’ plays original music using percussion instruments from around the world.

Shamou began his drumming career at an early age in his native Iran. He began his formal music training in Tehran, studied with teachers from the Royal College of Music in London, and completed his training at Berklee College of Music in Boston. A well-known figure in the Boston music scene in the mid-1990s, Shamou was the lead singer and percussionist with the world music ensembles Cosmos Factor and Ozain, and was a percussionist with the Greg Greenway Band. All three groups were nominated for the Boston Globe’s Music Award.

From 1999 to 2001, Shamou was a resident performer with the renowned club DJs of Funky Techno Tribe, Ruby Skye, and Release in San Francisco and at Utopia, the Velvet Dragon at the Mandalay, C2K at the Venician and Babies at the Hard Rock Café in Las Vegas. Shamou has contributed music to several CD compilations and has released his own solo CD, titled “Spirits Dance and Shodjah,” with his former band by the same name.

The performance will begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are $11, $6 with student ID and may be purchased at the door or in advance by calling 761-1545.

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