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2014 Voodoo Music + Arts Experience: Gogol Bordello 

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There's a planned chaos to Gogol Bordello's raucous performances, says frontman Eugene Hutz.

  "[It's] carefully crafted," Hutz says. "We're very much a band, and we're indebted to each other for the music and arrangements. I mean, sometimes I'll come up with a song that I think is shit, and the band gets it and makes into something beautiful."

  Despite the seeming anarchy, Hutz says the band's music and stage performance are organized, positive, propulsive and organic. Hutz formed the band in lower Manhattan, but its name references Ukrainian writer Nikolai Gogol, who was famous for his satire and use of his native culture and folklore; combined with the whorehouse term, it aptly describes the octet's wild party music. Sometimes called gypsy punk, it incorporates percussion, violin, guitar, bass, accordion and riotous group vocals. The band fuses dub music with Eastern European and Balkan music with punk rock fury more typical of bands like The Clash and Fugazi. The group also has a theatrical bent, with the members often wearing costumes or colorful clothes and performing with props.

  Gogol Bordello can kick into a frenzy like a brass band or the New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars, and the similarity is not lost on Hutz. He has been splitting his time between Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Hawaii and other far-flung ports, but Hutz is considering moving to New Orleans. "I always have a good time when I come there," he says. "I have a couple friends there, and it's such a musical city." Given our preponderance of celebratory, traditional and ecstatic music, local appreciation of satire and Storyville lore, the band may fit in perfectly.


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