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Bay Area Beats: Inspector Gadje

Courtesy of Sefa Karatekin, Anastasia Kuba, and Serina Koester / cropped and resized


The dozen-plus members of Oakland-based Balkan brass band Inspector Gadje come from all over the world. They’re serious students of Roma, sometimes known as “Gypsy” music, but none of them are actually Roma.


The group grew out of a collaboration between activist street band The Brass Liberation Orchestra and the non-profit Voice of Roma, which works to dismantle stereotypes about Romani culture, largely through arts and culture.

In this edition of Bay Area Beats, band members Marco PerisCoppola , who’s from Italy, and OfierUziel, originally from Israel, explain the band’s focus on both performance and social engagement.

"Gadje is a word that describes a non-Romani person, an outsider. And we all [in the band] are international folk that play Romani music. It's really putting it upfront that there is a relationship between insider and outsider, in this cultural exchange."

Inspector Gadje will be celebrating their album release with clarinetist Ismail Lumanovski at the Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco this Saturday night. They’re offering two pairs of free tickets for KALW listeners - to win yours, call (415) 841-4134 and leave your name and number.  


Jen Chien was the managing editor for Crosscurrents and KALW News from 2016 to 2018. She has been a contributor to All Things Considered, Radio Netherlands Worldwide, BBC/PRI’s The World, Making Contact, SF Public Press, East Bay Express, New America Media, and KPFA in Berkeley, where she took part in the First Voice Apprenticeship Program. She is the recipient of the 2013 Outstanding Emerging Journalist Award from the Society of Professional Journalists of Northern California. She holds a BA in American Studies from Smith College, and an MA in Interdisciplinary Performance from New College of California. Before entering the field of journalism, she had a successful career as a professional dance and theater artist, teacher, and massage therapist.