Along with dancer and director, Paulette Rees-Denis, musical instigators Bruce Beaton and Jeff Rees have led the musical gypsy trail for Gypsy Caravan from 1991- 2010. Although the band is no longer together as Gypsy Caravan or Mizna, Jeff Rees continues to play on with fantastic musicians around the globe.
The musicians of Gypsy Caravan and Mizna performed a stylized blend of the music of North Africa, Spain, India, the Middle and Near East, with a contemporary American sensibility. Both lively and thoughtful, this music evokes the lonely campfire of the hejira as well as the silken wealth of the caravanserai.
With a large assortment of horns and strings providing the melodic components, backed by an equally impressive array of drums and percussion instruments, the recorded songs range from pensive and moody to bouyant uptempo tunes. Gypsy Caravan plays all original compositions on a variety of traditional instruments, such as the Egyptian mijwiz, Turkish zurna and saz, African djembe and the Indian naal. Anywhere from four to nine musicians play with the band, adding more strings and percussion to fill out their intoxicating sound! And the Remarkably Remixed CD adds that bit of techno groove to the danceable rhythms and it explodes with energy and power.
Gypsy Caravan has an extensive repertoire of original songs, with seven music CDs on the market, and they enjoy playing at variety of performance requests, from large theatrical productions and art festivals, to smaller nightclubs and intimate celebrations. Gypsy Caravan and Mizna have explored many types of performance venues and experiences to showcase their thrilling and innovative shows that combine the original music and tribal bellydances of the dance company and band. Besides monthly shows at home in Portland, Oregon, they have performed and taught throughout the United States and around the globe, including shows in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and Europe.
Highlights from their illustrious career include playing assorted events, both big and small:
WOMAD—Seattle, WA 2002
Vibe Tribe—England and Scotland, 2007, 2009
Tribal Quest NorthWest—Portland, OR 2001-2007
Tribal Fest—CA, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010
Rakassah—CA, 1999, 2000, 2001
Spirit of the Tribes—FL, 1999, 2000
Renaissance Faire—AZ, 2002, 2002
Oregon Country Fair—OR, 1994-2006
Bumbershoot Art Festival—Seattle, WA, 1994, 1995, 1999, 2001, 2004
Folklife Music Festival—Seattle. WA, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009
And hundreds of shows, including festivals, clubs, gatherings, celebrations, theatrical productions!