Gypsy Funk Squad

Gypsy Funk Squad plays a mix of classic belly dance songs from Turkey, Armenia, Egypt, The Balkans, Greece, Israel, Lebanon, and other points in the Middle east. In our repertoire is also revamped rock tunes and original psychedelic surprises...done belly style! We can perform all traditional, all western (world style) or a mix. We almost always have a belly dancer or two performing with us! The emphasis is on fun and a dancing good time!

Jack Lowry has been in music for over 30 years. He started with rock and jazz guitar as a teenager, but later he became busy mixing live sound for Indian, West Indian, Bangalee, Persian, etc. concerts. Through these, he learned about doloks, harmoniums, tablas & non western scales. In 2007, fueled by the energy he experienced at the drum circles at Starwood and the power of Raquy & the Cavemen, he started to experiment with playing Middle Eastern music. He debuted with the Anka Kusu band/dance troupe at Spring Caravan in 2010. Jack plays Oud (fretless string lute), mini 12 string guitar. cumbush (a fretless Turkish banjo) and sings in Gypsy Funk Squad. He has attended retreats/workshops with Jim Donovan, Raquy Danziger, Ross M. Daly and others.

Ohannes was born in Istanbul, Turkey and lived there until the age of seventeen. After high school, he came USA to study Engineering. He has a MS in Electrical Engineering from NJIT. He has always been into music, rhythm and dancing. He got his first doumbek when he was around 10 years old and learned to play then very popular song Mastika. He became more serious about music when he started taking some oud lessons from John Vartan in late 90s. John Vartan gave him the opportunity to sit in with his band as second percussionist or as the bass player. And that's how he got into playing on stage. He has also danced for 6 years with the Antranig Dance Ensemble, an Armenian dance troupe. Being born in Turkey and being of Armenian decent, he is very familiar with Armenian and Turkish repertoire and rhythms. He is also familiar with Arabic, Greek and Jewish songs. He has also been playing over 20 years at the African Drum and Dance Circle in Central Park. He loves playing and organizing drum circles, and admins a Facebook Group called North Jersey Drum Circles . His nick name at drum circles is the Cowbell Boy as he loves to play the cowbell. Visit his Facebook Fan Page to find out about his gigs and drum circle activities. You can also connect with him on Facebook.

Jason Eaton: This heavy hitter was born in Queens NYC and raised in the garden state of NJ. As a child his parents introduced him to the joyful sounds of motown, funk, and salsa. In the year 2000 Jason graduated college and bought his first traditional djembe hand drum. Determined to live coast to coast Jason set out to make some noise. Drumming in Las Vegas, California, and Alaska taught him that you can learn more about a person in an hour of play then a day of conversation. Now he is back in NJ to share the light and love of The Drum.

Koshek Swaminathan is an artist and writer who loves music and has been in the music business for many years and on many sides. He began learning about the business side as publicity assistant at Capital Records and doing radio and retail promotions at EMI. He's been a promoter of bands, producer of events, curator of sound art, copywriter for record companies - just to name a few. Koshek's sound art projects have been displayed in many galleries including the famous Hermitage Museum in Russia. Koshek is very grateful to have had many of the best teachers of music and of life. A small list would not do justice. Some of his teachers include Bruce Wacker who taught him guitar, Mickey Hart who taught him rhythm, Allen Ginsberg who taught him poetry, Bill Burroughs who showed him how to do easy, Maestro Iliaraja who taught him about Indian music composition, and David Peel who taught him how to keep moving and never stop doing music. Koshek also played in many bands of varied genres on both the eastern and western coasts of the United States. These genres include rock n roll, folk rock, bluegrass, electronic, sonic art, ambient, experimental dance, prog rock, punk, new new wave, country and western, East Indian - and now with Gypsy Funk Squad - middle eastern music. Koshek first met Ohannes in May of 2018 at the COGS Steamfest Festival. They quickly became friends and Ohannes introduced him to the rest of the band and they have all been playing music together ever since.

Guest Artists

Richard Reiter
Musician (saxophones, clarinets, flutes), Band Leader, EMMY Award winning Composer, Educator, Leader of Spiritual Drum Circle.

Rodney Azagra
Rodney is an amazing bass player as well as an exceptional multi-instrumentalist. He is occasionally asked to fill in on any missing instrument whether on bass, sax, percussion or any combination thereof.

Chuck Eckert
An amazing RIQ player, sits in with Gypsy Funk Squad whenever he can.

Former Members

Luis Manuel
One of the founding members of the Gypsy Funk Squad, (originally called Not Constantinople). For more info about him, visit his web site

Edward Rollin
Oboist, multi-instrumentalist and instrument inventor has been performing improvisational music since the 1960’s. He played with Gypsy Funk Squad from 2014 to 2017.