Thursday, September 18, 2008

TVD's Daily Wax

I had to laugh when Madonna introduced Gogol Bordello at last year’s Live Earth concert as her “Romani gypsy friends.” None of the band members are actually Roma gypsies; the whole point of the “gypsy punk” genre is a self-conscious symbolic identification with those consummate outsiders. “Gypsy punk” reflects an ongoing effort to blend together every kind of rebel music and distill it into the auditory equivalent of a twenty-four hour vodka party. Authentic gypsy music is as variable as Romani culture itself, assimilating a multitude of influences from all over the world. Modern “gypsy punk” upholds this multicultural aesthetic by layering punk, hip hop, reggae, klezmer, and rock over traditional gypsy melodies. The live performance aspect is one of the best features of the genre; the spectacular concerts often include stylistic aspects of dark cabaret and street busking. There is a powerful immigrant sensibility in the bands’ identity and music. The artists typically have roots in Eastern Europe, South America, the Mediterranean, or the Middle East, and their lyrics are a polyglot potpourri reflecting their origins and audiences. This is aggressively enjoyable music, uproarious and eminently danceable. It’s like the set list from the hottest party happening on the wrong side of town, the one you’d love to go to, if only you had someone who spoke the language to take you. Oh yeah, and this is my supreme favorite hybrid genre ever. Round of applause for anyone who can guess why and posts it in the comments!

Gogol Bordello - Ultimate (Mp3)
Kultur Shock - God Is Busy May I Help You (Mp3)
Man Man - Banana Ghost (Mp3)
Rotfront - Remmidemmi (Mp3)
Zydepunks - Satan (Mp3)

1 comment:

Brian said...

Roma is preferred over gypsies, which is considered derogatory. I don't really give a hoot what people say, but you know how PC district-types can be.
At least we're not fingerprinting them or Irish Travelers in a mandatory census.