"Start Wearing Purple"
...Gogol Bordello live
From a handwritten “artist statement”: “Gogol Bordello’s task is to provoke audiences out of post-modern aesthetic (illegible word) into a neo-optimistic communal movement towards new sources of authentic energy.” This, from a singer/songwriter and former hardcore punker who heads a very large band that performs gypsy-ish folk and rock and dub. It’s a crazy mix, but don’t call it world music; Eugene Hutz thinks it’s not sexy enough a genre.
“With acts of music, theater, chaos, and sorcery, Gogol Bordello confronts the jaded and irony-deseased [sic]. Our treatment of traditional material is freewillous [sic], but is not irony-driven.” Agreed. Yes. Gogol Bordello’s approach to the musical motifs of Eastern Europe and the Latin countries lacks irony and is indeed freewillous. Not to mention all that agitated, hectic energy.
“We choose to work with gypsy, cabaret, and punk traditions.” The heart of the matter is how it all sounds, right? Slavic accordion and fiddle, hammering like all hell and seething with power blast the speakers alongside punkish guitars and rock drums. Gogol Bordello began in 1999, in New York. Although it seems like more, there are only nine musicians in the band. In 17 years on the road, the band has run through an astounding number of sidemen and has released six albums. The current schedule of band members comes from all over the globe: Eastern Europe, Africa, Russia, Ecuador, and the U.S.
Eugene Hutz, who is also a DJ, is Gogol Bordello’s 43-year-old front man and founder. Born in the Ukraine, his first band in the fatherland was called Vinegar Tap. In Vermont, he fronted a punk band called the Fags, then moved on to New York where he started Hutz and the Bela Bartoks, which begat Gogol Bordello. As for the new sources of authentic energy mentioned above, why not? I’m guessing Gogol Bordello generates enough energy to power a small city.