Anka Kusu is comprised of a small group of very talented people with a desire to provide performances that transport their audiences to a place long ago and far away through creative presentations of classic Middle Eastern music and dance. Since it's inception in the beginning of 2008, this group of musicians and dancers have performed together, and now their music is available for others to enjoy dancing or listening to.
Thomas V. Berger - Darbuka/ Tar/ Percussion
Thomas had previously studied Chinese Lion Dance Drumming, and trying his hand at the darbuka seemed like a good way of sharing his wife’s passion for Middle Eastern music and dance. In 2007 he began working with his original darbuka teacher, Kellie Friedberg, and playing quickly became a passionate journey of his own. He's come a long way from his first month or so using the bottom of a waste paper basket to repeatedly drill Baladi along a path that includes not just the joyous challenges Anka Kusu offers, but becoming the full time student of Amir Naoum Chehade and seminars with other great teachers as well. Thomas is proud to be a founding member of Anka Kusu.
Jack Lowry – Oud/ Guitar
Jack’s first musical love was rock. Through his sound/lighting company, Strike Sound, he was exposed to many forms of music, including Indian and West Indian. Through these, he learned about doloks, harmoniums, & tablas. In 2007, fueled by the energy he experienced at the drum circles at Starwood and inspired by the power of Raquay & the Cavemen, he started to experiment with Middle Eastern music. He debuted with Anka Kusu at Spring Caravan in 2010.
Meredith Bailin Hull - Lead Vocals
Meredith started her soloist “career” in 1988 at her 8th grade spring concert and has been hooked on singing ever since. Meredith has studied with various voice coaches on and off since high school and has been performing with the Flirts of Fancie, a bawdy all-girl singing group, since 2002. She is honored to have been with Anka Kusu since their first performance at Spring Caravan 2008.
Chuck Eckert - Riq/ Percussion
Chuck first became involved in Belly Dancing through his late wife Peggy, of Fringe Benefit, functioning as their roadie, music consultant, and chief button pusher. In that Belly Dancing had enriched their lives so much, Chuck decided to give something back to the community. He began taking darbuka lessons in the winter of 2007, but switched to the riq in 2008 when he joined Anka Kusu.
Miriam H.F. Berger - Producer/Director/Dancer/Choreographer/Cat Herder