Band members consist of Karen Richards and Billy Crocker, musicians Barb Thorne (darbuka, recorder, cello, and vocals), Chris Pavelko (upright bass, frame drums, riq). Guest Members :Josh Sherman (tabla), and Erich Reith (darbuka).
THE BAND - How we came together - Karen and Billy started playing piano, violin, and guitar duets together 5 years ago in the Ohio Univeristy Music Building in Athens .One of their early originals, featuring Karen on the kemenche, became their "title track" and first name of the band, "The Mean Dark Gypsies". The song was a hit amongst the dancers we performed with and eventually was featured on the metal band "Forces of Nature"'s CD release of 2014. Karen and Billy both have a strong interest in Arabic drumming and music which led them to attend Raquy Danziger's workshops both here in the US and in the Middle East. Through Raquy, they met Barbara Thorne, who is a skilled dumbek player and multi instrumentalist. The three attend the medieval festival Pennsic where they furthered their musical skills with musicians like Carmine Guida, Melissa Murphy of Ishtar, and Al Cofrin of Istanpitta. Traditional Turkish folk songs like Hijaz Mandira and Rompi Rompi are still a part of the band's set list. In recent years, Ancien has expanded its repertoire to include the Gypsy Roma genre, and features songs like the Hungarian traditional Amari Czi and original compositions like Brown Cow and Marianka.
Billy has formal training in both classical guitar and piano, which he began when he was ten years of age. His interests have led him to blues slide guitar, Spanish and finger style guitar. His love for the dumbek was influenced by renowned percussionist Billy Woods, and Daveed Korup of Turku. He recently studied with Raquy Danziger a Virtuoso Dumbeck Player whose focus is on the “Split finger technique”. Billy is a talented improv musician who also composes original pieces for piano, guitar, and violin. He also has a healthy lust for world music, classical, medieval music and the blues, which can be recognized in his compositions. He continues his study of composition and counterpoint Under Dr. Richard Holsworth from Berkeley University .