Pierce County, in partnership with Blues Vespers and Broadway Center presents
On the Road
Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest in Tacoma, Washington, Obe Quarless is a dynamic entertainer and steel pan musician who brings a breadth of musical talent and experience to every performance. Obe first was introduced to the steel pan as a young child from his father, who is also a musician and is from the native country of the steel pan, Trinidad & Tobago. Obe’s affinity for music came from growing up in the shadow of his father’s calypso band “The Islanders,” and playing music together with his three younger brothers and father. “The Islanders” have been actively performing in the Greater Seattle area for over 25 years.
Aside from learning and performing music with his father, Obe’s musical training was complimented in his schooling, beginning in elementary school singing in choirs and playing the trumpet. Obe continued brass studies on trumpet, tuba, and French horn in high school, performing in various wind bands and jazz ensembles. In high school he also received several state accolades for his steel pan performances at the Washington State solo & ensemble competition.
Obe’s expertise is in calypso and soca music from Trinidad & Tobago. However he also shows his versatility on steel drums by drawing upon his diverse musical backgrounds to create new and exciting music. His musical influences include Calypso, Afro-Brazilian, Hip-Hop, Rap, Jazz improvisation, Funk and R&B.
As a classically trained musician, Obe Quarless holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in percussion studies from Whitworth University and is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree in steel pan performance from Northern Illinois University. He has studied percussion and steel pan with Paul Raymond, Liam Teague, Cliff Alexis, and Greg Beyer. He also has shared the stage with internationally recognized steel pannists and percussionists Andy Narell, Victor Provost, Gary Gibson, and Omar Al Musfi.