فرقة الغجر فانك

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!

Giacomo…

comes from a lineage of unknown, behind the scenes influencers, and jokesters, from the well known land of "Li-Talia".

Some say his ancestors intensionally altered the blueprint for the Tower of Piza to lean at its current angle because "it was too perfect".

Excelling at hijinks, he enjoys tricking people into having a good time, dancing to music they would have otherwise ignored, and bringing them closer to the realization that life can actually good qualities such as

…joy…

…triumph…

…fun…

…singing…

…happy faces…

…bright colors…

…and the little things.


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.


Fast Fingers Jason

…was once a wooden marionette carved from bubinga, a hearty, tough as nails, heavy as bricks, rosewood from the western Africa region, and had always wanted to be a real boy.

His neighbor, an alchemist, says to him one day, "what do you want, a fairy godmother or something? I can do this with science! "

And it was made so.

"Now that I'm a boy, what do I do with myself?" asks the now, real boy. "What do I do for the rest of my life?" he continues redundantly.

"Do what you may to your heart's content," replies the alchemist.

"I've always wanted to sing and dance, and express the rhythm of my heart! but being new to being a fully animated, bipedal creature, how do I do that?"

"Well, Little One, it's up to you to figure it out for yourself, and maybe get some help along the way," advises the alchemist.

"How about I tap on this bowl of curds and whey?"

Tonk, tonk, tonk, tunk-tunk!

"Meh!" says the real boy.

"…and how about I tap a rhythm on this little child?"

"Wahh!!!! Call DYFaSs!" wails the child.

"Okay, maybe not that..." figures the real boy.

"What about this...drum-like...thingy? What does one call this?"

"It's called a drum," says the alchemist.

Boom, dat..dat... boo-gaa-daa- boo-gaa-daa- boo-gaa-daa- boo-gaa-daa-boom-boom, BLAP!

Nursing his frazzled ears from the emphatic BLAP, the alchemist recovers and says, "okay, crazy. Now go ahead and do that fast fingers acrobatics elsewhere…"


Ko-Ko

…Comes from a realm very distant from our comprehension of "what is", hailing from the other side of a proverbial Möbius strip, very close in proximity to our physical reality which one may call "Inner Earth".

Ko-ko has analyzed human behavior by way of viewing triple reflections of individuals' auras bouncing of etherial rain drops. Curious to learn more about us, he decided to experience "what is" through a "band", much like a Möbius strip, rich with its own twists and unusual outcomes.

Due to the seemingly random nature of Gypsy Funk Squad, he believes he has found himself a good match.


Jimmy the Tree

…sprouted from a lush secret underground forest illuminated by an eternal light source very similar to our Sun.

According to legend, the Universe blew a whispering breeze in his forest, gently brushing through his twigs, resonating a vibration that anthropomorphized him allowing him to move about unencumbered by buried roots, taking on the semblance of a human, yet retaining the majesty of a tree.

Within a hidden grove in his forest, he was adopted and raised by a pride of chimaera who taught the magic and power of sonic resonance that gave him animation. Grateful for this knowledge and experince, he set forth to create music and spread its power and beauty by way any musical instrument of his choosing.


The squad member known as "Rhadni" (because his actual multisyllabic name, unintelligible to our ears, vaguely sounds like that) is from unknown origin, although some speculate he may be from Outer Mongolia, or perhaps in a remote region near the Yucatán Peninsula, but it's anyone's guess at this point.

One evening, he shows up to a performance unannounced, fully prepared with instruments and gear, with a vague foundation of the music, and joins in as if he had been playing it for a lifetime.

As perpetual guest musician, he has disappeared and reappeared throughout the years as mysteriously as his initial appearance. Nobody knows where he lives.


Guest Artists

Richard Reiter (1947-2024)
Musician (saxophones, clarinets, flutes), Band Leader, EMMY Award winning Composer, Educator, Leader of Spiritual Drum Circle.

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.