Rock It: Gogol Bordello brings Eastern European edge to Indianapolis

Posted on November 13, 2013

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Rock It: Gogol Bordello brings Eastern European edge to Indianapolis

Gogol Bordello

By: Rachael Mattice

In Europe, it is common to hear music in many languages, but non-English-speaking music doesn’t easily catch on in the United States. That’s why the climb to American ears for gypsy punk band Gogol Bordello, though steady, is revolutionary.

After a three-year album absence, the band will release “Pura Vida Conspiracy” on July 23, and is stampeding through Indianapolis at 9 p.m. Friday at the Egyptian Room.

Although some of the eight-piece band, formed in 1999, is from the United States, Ukrainian-born founder, frontman and songwriter Eugene Hutz incorporated his Eastern European and Gypsy heritage, as well as the band’s international goldmine of knowledge, into a righteous, foot-stomping concoction, music that truly “thinks globally.”

Gogol Bordello, derived from Nikolai Gogol, a writer who brought Ukrainian culture into Russian society, and the Italian word bordello, referring to a brothel, has toured the world repeatedly and released five studio albums.

With punk – traditionally from a place of angst and anti-establishment, folk, which wails from times of hardship, and the rambunctious accordion- and violin-filled elements of Romany gypsy music, Gogol Bordello’s sound is a dance-in-the-street treasure that brings a neo-optimistic perspective to audiences of all backgrounds and musical tastes.

“Immigrant Punk,” “Start Wearing Purple,” “Baro Foro,” and the video for “Immigraniada (We Comin’ Rougher),” which shows the band members working unpleasant jobs in America, personify the band.

The seemingly political agenda of Gogol Bordello is more of a wake-up call to advance community and dig into raw authenticity.

“Malandrino,” the band’s latest track from “Pura Vida Conspiracy,” – pura vida is Spanish slang speak for “pure life” – is just as unhinged and fast-paced.

“Pura Vida Conspiracy” echoes the band’s multiculturalism by “exploring human potential,” Hutz told Fuse magazine.

Although some of the musicians of Gogol Bordello are foreign-born, New York’s cultural melting pot brought them together.

The band’s formation is part of what defines America: to embrace our roots and party with diversity.

Mattice is a producer and music journalist for the Journal & Courier. She can be reached on Twitter @RachaelM_JC. 

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Posted in: "Rock It" Column