Mark Bell started playing Middle Eastern percussion in 1972 and got his first gig that same year playing for Bal Anat. He performed many years in both Arabic and Persian nightclubs in the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas, as well as many California Renaissance Faires. Nightclubs include the Baghdad, the Casbah, Apadana, Cabaret Tehran and Delilah's where he worked on a regular basis. Mark has traveled and studied percussion extensively throughout the Arab world.
A partial listing of percussionists he has studied with include Mahmoud Hamouda in Egypt and Farhadman in Iran. This experience is reflected in his playing. This is why Arabs and Persians as well as American audiences appreciate his style.
Mark plays Arabic tabla (a hand drum also known as doumbek or darbukka), toumbak or zarb (a Persian hand drum), tabla beladi or davul (a type of bass drum usually played with sticks), and various instruments of the tambourine/ frame drum family.
He also performs with the Armenian group, Mirage, the Arabic/American fusion band, Light Rain, the Greek group, The Aegeans, the Turkish group, Tufan, and, occasionally, with the Balkan group, Panacea. Mark won a Grammy in 2005 for his tracks on Beautiful Dreamer - Songs of Stephen Foster Mark recorded the song Autumn Waltz with friends Henry Kaiser, Robin Petrie, and Paul Hostetter.