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Houston Press Music Awards Preview - The Gypsies

By Mark Towns
Published: Houston Press, Thursday, July 10, 1997

In 1974, Greg Harbar -- a one-man crusader for world music before world music was cool -- formed the Gypsies as an outlet for exposing the offbeat sounds he had accumulated in his head via his extensive and eccentric music collection of over 3,000 titles. By 1977, his wife, violinist Mary Ann, had joined the band, and together they've remained the core of the Gypsies for the last decade. The Gypsies describe themselves as a polyethnic band with two distinct personalities: the "strollers," which include Dave Peters on mandolin, Kelly Lancaster on guitar and Barry Roberts on bass, and the "dancers," made up of all of the above plus Mike Mizma on drums, Pam Bingham on clarinet, Martin Langford on sax and Eden McAdam-Sommer on second violin. The band's repertoire includes some 1,200 songs covering various Eastern European, European, Mediterranean, tropical and South American styles. When not performing, the Harbars keep busy on various recording projects. They are also planning a trip to Africa, with designs on adding even more exotic colorings to the Gypsies' already extensive musical travelogue.

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