Gogol Bordello and the Gypsy Punk Within Us All

I think I finally understand the stereotype correlating Black people and superior dancing skills; that because of some hereditary, corporeal connection with their musical roots from sub-Sharan Africa, African Americans are able to move more organically than the rest of us to the sounds of modern day beats.  The theory might be oversimplified (and possibly racist) but after last night’s Gogol Bordello concert, I agree that perhaps there is a genetic aptitude to inherently “know” how to dance to certain types of music, over others.   Without knowing who Gogol Bordello (my friend Boris, already a fan, schlepped me to the show ) and without making a conscious decision to wild-out, my Ashkenazi ass moved in a way one could only describe as, “it was in me.”

Gogol Bordello is loud.  They are joyously loud, hyped beyond words, out of their skulls. The 8 person group sings in Russian and English and plays all sort of instruments, including accordion and washboard.   Playing as if they were possessed, front man Eugene Hutz whom Heeb Magazine named an Honorary Jew (other Jews in the band include the guitarist and drummer) writes on Gogol Bordello’s MySpace page, “Often you will hear people talking about a concert they’ve experienced for years! Why? In Gypsy mythology they say it is memorable because the devil visited that room; others say the other guy was there. But one way or another they all link it to supernatural.”

Since forming in the Lower East Side in 1999, Gogol Bordello has written original music for films like Wristcutters and Everything Is Illuminated.  But, don’t get it twisted: Gogol Bordello is dance music.  As in raise your palms to Hashem and hora in circles, dance music.  Which I most certainly did, moving like I was put on this earth to move that way.  In fact, the music was most likely danceable for everyone with a pulse, flaunting a pre-crescendo build up (in songs like “Supertheory of Supereverything” and “Super Taranta”) followed by an eruption of kinetic sonorous energy resulting in a musical climax.

Gogol Bordello has an encore performance at the same venue tonight in NYC, Webster Hall.   They are then continuing the tour in major US cities and really, this is one “it feels so Jewish” cultural experience you won’t want to miss.

– Margaret Teich


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You might also like