Gogol Bordello at the Aggie TheatreGogol Bordello are a Gypsy punk band from New York. They were founded in 1999 by Ukrainian immigrant Eugene Hütz with other musicians from Eastern Europe, Israel and the United States. The band mix traditional Eastern European gypsy music with punk and ska. To the classic punk band cast of vocals, drums, electric guitar and bass, Gogol Bordello have added accordion and violin. Bandleader Hüzt sings the lyrics mainly in English (with a strong Eastern European accent), but also in Russian, Ukrainian and Romani.
Born in 1972 in the Ukrainian town of Bojarka near Kiev, Hütz made his way at the beginning of the 1990s through Italy, Austria, Hungary and Poland to the USA to end up in Vermont, where he managed to keep his head above water performing menial tasks. Hütz moved to New York in 1996 where he was soon to meet other immigrant musicians from Eastern Europe and Israel.
Before the band were founded in 1999, most of the musicians already knew each other, having occasionally played together as a wedding band. They had originally wanted to call themselves “Hütz and the Béla Bartóks” but found out that Hungarian composer Béla Bartók was not well enough known in the USA. So, without further ado, they combined the family name of Ukrainian-born Russian writer Nikolai Gogol with the politically correct term for a whorehouse! Their debut album was released that same year and was entitled “Voi-La Intruder”. It was published by Jim Sclavunos, drummer of Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds. Sclavunos was so impressed by the sound of Gogol Bordello, that he established a label specifically for the band in order to publish their first album. That was the first time the band bundled the explosive mix of Eastern European melodies and New York punk with Eugen Hütz’s tragicomic lyrics, recited in a surprise-attack style, about stateless, green-card carrying, two-timing husbands. The band made their definite breakthrough in 2002 with the release of their second album “Multi Kontra Culti vs. Irony”.
Since their founding, Gogol Bordello have released a total of nine albums. Among those are the 2004 release of an album with Tamir Muskat, drummer of the band Balkan Beat Box. Their fourth album “Gypsy Punks - Underdog World Strike” from 2005 was produced by Steve Albini, well-known as the producer of Nirvana. The fifth album “Trans-Continental Hustle” was recorded after Hütz returned from a two-year stay in Brazil and features strong Latin influences. It was produced by multiple Grammy award-winner and star producer Rick Rubin.
The band are known for their wild stage shows. In addition to the regular musicians on stage, circus artists, dancers, animals, fireworks and surrealistic theatrical performances can be seen. With a political and social critical aspect on the one hand and a fun-seeking aspect on the other, the shows are very colourful and full of energy and are referred to by the band themselves as a “Ukrainian Gypsy Punk Cabaret”.
Eugene Hütz, as well as the entire band, also act in movies such as “Everything is Illuminated” by Liev Schreiber with Elijah Wood and “Filth and Wisdom”, the directorial debut of American pop singer Madonna.
In 2007, the band accompanied Madonna in the performance of her hit “La Isla Bonita” as part of the Live Earth concert at Wembley Stadium in London and played the Coca Cola song “Let's Get Crazy” for the UEFA Euro 2012. Gogol Bordello’s latest album entitled “Pura Vida Conspiracy” was released in 2013.
Eugene Hütz
Sergey Ryabtsev
Oliver Charles
Thomas Gobena
Pedro Erazo
Yuri Lemeshev
Elizabeth Chi-Wei Sun
Michael Ward
Pasha Newmer
Voi-La Intruder (1999)
Multi Kontra Culti vs. Irony (2002)
Gogol Bordello v.s. Tamir Muskat - J.U.F. (2004)
East Infection (2005)
Gypsy Punks. Underdog Worldstrike (2005)
Super Taranta (2007)
Live from Axis Mundi (2009)
Trans-Continental Hustle (2010)
Pura Vida Conspiracy (2013)


Text Robert Lippuner / Gypsy Music Network
Translation: Jamie Davies


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