Rigor Vitae: Life Unyielding

Friday, March 31, 2006


When I first heard the music of Gogol Bordello, a couple of years ago, I made myself a promise. "Carel," I said, "If this band comes within 100 miles of you, I'm gonna take you to see them". Well, tonight's the big night, and the drive to Park City is a mere dozen miles. Their most recent cd is titled Gypsy Punks, and that's a fairly apt description of their music. Fronted by the crazed and charismatic Ukrainian emigré Eugene Hütz, the band's catchy minor-key melodies often evoke the Hot Club of Paris, while their furious rhythm section adds a post-punk aggression to the mix. Hütz plays rhythm guitar and sings...well, you can't really call it singing, but whatever it is, it's absolutely compelling. His lyrics (in English, often slipping into Ukrainian, Spanish, Italian, or languages known only to the ancients) are at once engaging, literate, amusing, and totally incomprehensible. Of equal importance is the versatile violin of Sergey Ryabtzev. At one moment he'll play in the sweet, lilting style of Stéphane Grapelli, the next in a gritty, scraping manner suitable for a Romani campfire, then suddenly shift into a more mainstream tone that Borodin or Khatchaturian might demand.
I don't expect to get a lot of sitting down accomplished tonight.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't heard of that Rock band, are they similar to Green Day? If they are I am sure to like thier music. I think tht many will think, this is not art! This is music! Since you are an artist they will say that. But music itself is an art, people just have to understand that.

1:12 AM  
Blogger Carel Brest van Kempen said...

Let me add one more sentence to my description of their music: Not terribly similar to Green Day.

7:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So nobody that replies, gets you eh? I took that test and am only 25% Well maybe I and Roger will just leave now......

3:00 AM  
Blogger Carel Brest van Kempen said...

The secret to scoring high on that test is to lie like all get out, also an important part of being a tortured artist.

4:11 PM  

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