A Greek bassist ducked into a little bar in New York’s Alphabet City and heard the Eastern Mediterranean and Southern Balkans pouring across the packed room. The clarinet was keening and singing, and he knew every tune.
From this blown-away moment of discovery, the New York Gypsy All-Starssprang, uniting bi-musical virtuosi raised on the lush sounds of Macedonian, Greek, Turkish, and American roots and forged in the halls of the world’s best music schools. With composerly ears and a madcap relish for ill and crunky sounds, the quintet of crack musicians tears through the tollgates separating the region’s interlocking roots on the long-awaited album of original pieces, Romantech (Traditional Crossroads) and on tour in February with concerts in cities including Chicago and NYC.
He began taking private guitar lessons at the age of 10. As a 7th grader, his school band won the second place at a national song competition, where he was the guitarist and the lead singer. It was there that he met Sezen Aksu and Sertab Erener. He toured with Erener the following summer as her back-up vocalist. He decided to follow his passion for music and transferred to the high school division of the Istanbul State Conservatory.
After studying with Erdem Sokmen at the conservatory for a year, he moved to the United States to continue his classical guitar studies with John Wunsch at the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. Two years later, he was accepted to the classical guitar program at the Eastman School of Music where he received his Bachelor''s degree. There he studied with Nicholas Goluses, a former student of the legendary guitarist Andres Segovia. Throughout his guitar studies, he had the opportunity to play in master classes for David Russell, Assad Brothers, Roland Dyens,Fabio Zanon, Scott Tennant and Adam Holzman.
In 2006 he met the independent filmmaker Rick Widmer and composed the original music for his documentary film "American Fair.
Between 2006 and 2009, he has taught at the Interlochen Guitar Institute, a summer seminar, and shared the stage with faculty members such as John Wunsch, Jason Vieaux, Martha Masters, Gene Bertoncini, and Howard Alden.
Emre has worked on numerous projects with songwriter/ producer Ayhan Sahin, including the single "Only Yesterday” which received an excellent review from the Billboard Magazine.
In 2009, Emre was the opening act at the Istanbulive Concert at Summerstage, one of the year's top-attended Central Park shows. He shared the stage with Brooklyn Funk Essentials, Husnu Senlendirici, Sertab Erener & Demir Demirkan, and Mazhar Fuat Ozkan.
Emre is currently working on completing his debut album for the Turkish markets.
Kristina Melike performs New York-Turkish-Balkan-Rromani Bellydance, a personal concoction steeped in the global musical sounds and dance forms which surround her in NYC, and rooted in her years of studying those artistic traditions which have captured her ears and her heart the most.
Her dance training includes classical ballet, bellydance, Balkan folk dance, Rromani (Gypsy) dance, and Afro-Latin dance. Performance highlights include appearing as a guest artist with the NY Gypsy All-Stars, Husnu Senlendirici, Selim Sesler, Kal, Baba Zula, Karim Nagi's Turbo Tabla; at the World Expo in Yeosu, Korea; at the NY Times Travel Show; and at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. She has performed on tour throughout the United States with the brass band Slavic Soul Party. She also performs with Frankie Martinez's Aché Performance Project.