Middle Eastern Music and Dance

Anka Kusu

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The Anka Kusu Band
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Thomas V. Berger
Musician Personnel Manager/Darbuka/ Vocals

Thomas watched his wife, Miriam, fall in love with Middle Eastern dance and since he had previously studied Chinese Lion Dance Drumming, trying his hand at the darbuka seemed like a good way of sharing it with her.  In 2007 he met 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 the likes of Carmine Guida of Djinn, and Raquay of Raquay and the Cavemen.

Chuck Eckert

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.

Jack Lowry
Guitar / Oud / Vocals

Jack’s first musical love was rock. 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.

Anka Kusu is grateful for the incredible talent and dedication of every member who has performed with us.  Previous members include:

  • Rodney Azagra
  • Luis Manuel
  • Meredith Bailin Hull
  • Evan Robb
  • Kellie Friedberg
  • Wayne Freidberg
  • Kimberly Uresk
  • James Hanna