What I’m listening to: Gogol Bordello’s “60 Revolutions” and “Immigraniada”

If you haven’t heard of the musical genre of “Gypsy Punk” then now is a time to rectify that by hearing a sample of the band that coined the term and pioneered the sound, Gogol Bordello. Hit the jump to read more.

I first discovered Gogol Bordello when watching the film Wristcutters: A Love Story (quite an entertaining and fun film, by the way) and enjoying its soundtrack, which had more than a few tunes by Gogol Bordello. This ended up not being a coincidence, as the director is a friend of Gogol Bordello’s songwriter and singer, Eugene Hütz, who is also the partial inspiration for the character in the film, also named Eugene.

Gogol Bordello’s unique sound also comes from the lyrics that speak of the refugee and immigration experience, as Eugene Hütz himself lived in a refugee camp growing up. These are more than evident in his lyrics which talk about the drive to escape to live the dream of freedom in the so-called “land of the free” America prides itself to be, only to find double-standards imposed on immigrants and a difficult life of bureaucracy and bigotry, fueling his desire to keep the dream alive by sharing his story and message through his music.

In these particular songs, Immigraniada refers to the fact that no matter how parochial and isolationist a country can get, immigrants will still fight hard to live their dreams if they believe in them strongly enough.

60 Revolutions, takes the elements of the angry drive for change and revolution prevalent during the Vietnam War era’s music and in this case, can be interpreted as an attack on pop music and culture, which has lost lots of it soul and finds people reveling in self-pity or instant gratification as opposed to being a call for action, not helped by rampant consumerism, which are all the antithesis to Gogol Bordello’s approach and messages.

I relate to Gogol Bordello and their music, because just like the nature of my project here, I’m not trying to find success in a comfortable life, I’m trying to find a way to help people become inspired to take action by raising awareness without being boring, to show them why we need to be angry and impassioned at the injustices around the world, and that we can make a difference. If music reaches beyond borders and cultures because all around the world we find a commonality in enjoying the same song, genre, band, or its message, then we have found something that can stop us from living in our egos. The world cannot continue if everyone lives in a universe of individual egos that disregards the existence of other people, so we need to start thinking in terms of “we, we, we” instead of “me, me, me”.

If you’re interested, here’s an interview with Eugene Hütz at Mother Jones: http://motherjones.com/media/2011/01/gogol-bordello-eugene-hutz-interview

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