The Musicians

David ReihsDavid Reihs

Artistic Director, Arabic Keyboard and Accordion, Middle-Eastern Percussion, Ud,
Elektro Saz
David Reihs is a multi-instrumentalist turned producer and educator who currently focuses on music of Turkish and Arabic cultures. He has been studying a wide variety of middle eastern genres and instruments since 2001, including four years living in Istanbul, Turkey where he learned and spent time with may of the countries finest musicians. Aside from his work with Ritim Egzotik, David’s company dhavir productions produces concerts, workshops and instructional DVD’s for middle eastern music and dance.

Brett PitnerBrett Pitner

Guitar, Bouzouki, Ud, Elektro Saz
Born in Portland, OR, Brett began his guitar playing career as a youth playing styles such as Prog Rock and Heavy Metal. Inevitably this lead him to take up Jazz studies at Mt. Hood Community College’s renown music department. This experience naturally groomed him for a career playing Greek music and DJing at the now-defunct Greek Cusina where he would also learn to play bouzouki. He can currently be seen playing bouzouki with singer Maria George for a monthly Greek Night at Kolbeh Restaurant, when he’s not tripping the Ritim Egzotik. Of course it’s a foregone conclusion that he would end up in a Turko-Arabic ensemble playing Oud and Glissentar. “What a Country!” Follow Brett at Brett Pitner Music.

Jason Ramirez

Jason Ramirez

Darbuka, Riqq
Jason Ramirez, lead drummer for Ritim Egzotik, has been playing percussion of various styles for the past 13 years. Of that time, it has been the last 5 years that he has really studied the art of middle eastern percussion with interests and influences drawing from Turkey and Egypt. Jason also performs with many other bands and artists around the Portland area including the group, Hurqalya, as well as some of Portlands top bellydancers. When he isnt using his hands to make music, he is busy using them in his practice as a licensed massage therapist.

Brian HowardBrian Howard

Katim, Riqq, Darbuka
Brian became a bellydance husband in 2007 and soon got hooked on middle-eastern music. He picked up a darbuka drum out of curiosity – and peer pressure from his musical friend – and then his life tumbled into “drum addiction”. Somehow he managed to stay clear of the hard-core, rock-n-roll drum kits and after nearly 5 years he has managed to elevate his drumming skills enough to play with the fine musicians that make up Ritim Egzotik. Through Ritim Egzotik’s 10-beat Semai program, Brian has his drum addiction under control and his life together and in sync. He enjoys the friendships he’s developed through Middle Eastern music and dance.

 Dave KelsayDave Kelsay

Drum kit, Darbuka, Katim and other percussion
Dave Kelsay moved to Portland, Oregon from Tallahassee, Florida in July, 2012. While studing at Berkeley College of Music in Boston, he found an interest for jazz drums and world percussion. As a member of Ritim Egzotik’s dynamic percussion section, Dave Kelsay adds an exciting twist to the band’s infectious gooves and beats, intriguing audiences, musicians and dancers alike.

Jeff Langston

Photo by Claire Flint

 Jeff Langston

Electric Bass
Jeff Langston started playing bass at age 16 in Eugene, OR. In 1992 he moved to Boston, MA to study music performance at Berklee College of Music, and while there he earned an ‘Outstanding Performer’ award and scholarship (1995). In 1996 he moved to NYC and worked as a freelance bass player. He soon found himself playing a wide variety of venues ranging from CBGB’s to Carnegie Hall. He has had the honor of performing and/or recording with many diverse artists including Lou Reed, LP, Shawn Colvin, Boy George, Phoebe Snow, and many more. Jeff has been involved with Antony and the Johnsons since 2001. He recently relocated to the Pacific Northwest, and when not playing with the Johnsons, look to hear him with the wonderful Portland artists Rachel Taylor Brown, Mo Phillips, and of course the exciting Ritim Egzotik.




 Photos by Phoebus Foto and Glisson Imaging and Claire Flint