It’s not an invasion, it’s a celebration of international music! The Gypsy Guerrilla Band plays "Hit and Run Music" with an exuberant mix of styles. Band members think like gypsies in their range of cultural influences, and like guerrillas in their aggressive approach to traditional instruments. The hammered dulcimer, autoharp, guitar and drums create a hard-driving sound and bring new life to folk and ethnic music; the result is a repertoire characterized by big-spirited variety. On tour, the band adapts its material and costumes for the occasion. They often work with local performers and guest artists, and have been known to get a whole town dancing in the streets. They’re committed to music that will unify, entertain, and fire up people’s imaginations.
Jim Lillquist, who plays the hammered dulcimer, started out as a jazz, rock, band and orchestral percussionist. From Des Plaines, Ill., he and Joyce Lillquist, the band's autoharp player, have been married since 1974. Jim built his first hammered dulcimer in 1979, when he could no longer work as a Holiday Rambler RV salesman and manager, because his employer went out of business. The Gypsy Guerrilla band started playing at Renaissance Festivals in 1983, the same year Joyce picked up the autoharp.
Starting with a few dozen tunes Jim learned from a hammered dulcimer book, the band's lineup now includes Irish, Scottish and English dances; Gypsy melodies; belly dance tunes; and, more recently, Welsh, French, and Balkan music.