Long Beach Based Musician Omar Akram Makes Grammy History

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Afghan Grammy Winner

Although this year’s 54th Grammy Music Awards are history, several bright new talents made their mark on the world and upset the established trends in the modern music industry. Yet one of the biggest surprises, as well as a major first for this institution, was pianist, composer, and Long Beach based musician Omar Akram who won the award for Best New Age Album. What makes Omar’s award for his album “Echoes of Love” historic isn’t only his emotionally moving, all-instrumental music or his diverse collection of international musical influences or even his globetrotting childhood. What makes Omar’s victory one for the history books is the fact that he is the first Afghan to ever win, or even be nominated for a Grammy.

Unfortunately, we live in a time when most American’s exposure to Afghanistan and its rich cultural offerings are limited to reports about terrorism and the war within its borders. But that seems to be changing thanks to this unexpected win. Overnight Omar’s name became internationally famous, especially back in Afghanistan where he was the top story for every TV channel, radio station, and newspaper in the country. Omar now serves as a source of pride and inspiration as well as a positive image for the under-represented country and plans to only further spread his influence with his new world tour in the works.

Omar was born as an Afghan-American in New York to two immigrants from Afghanistan proper. With a whirlwind upbringing, he grew up with and learned about traditional and popular music styles from across the globe including Prague’s classical music scene, Cuban jazz, 80’s pop and electronic, and traditional Middle Eastern percussion and strings, all of which he blends together in his craft. With four albums under his belt, he currently resides in Long Beach, California and he holds the distinctive honor of being Hollywood’s House of Blues only resident New Age artist. Visit his website to read more about his background and music at http://blog.omarmusic.com/.

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