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22 September, 2013  ▪  The Ukrainian Week

Dig Deeper

An intimate story of a solitary traveler from Gogol Bordello

That’s the message of the sixth album by American punk-rock band Gogol Bordello. Yevhen Hudz, the band’s leader, says that the new record Pura Vida Conspiracy is about human internal potential. Other musicians confirm this: the lyrics on the previous albums focused on the world more, while in this one, Yevhen talks about what is going on inside him. The newest album still has the band’s daredevil feel to it, but turns out more intimate and sincere. It seems like the vocalist finally got tired after five albums of craze and sat down by the living room fireplace to tell the real story.

The album was produced by Andrew Scheps known for working with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Mars Volta. This is Gogol Bordello’s first album after three years of silence since their previous record, Trans-Continental Hustle produced by Rick Rubin that came out in 2010.  Back then, the record landed ninth in the Alternative Albums chart and sold 67,000 copies in the U.S. alone. The new album, sparks contrasting reactions: some fans scream that the record is fantastic, especially the second part of it. Others claim that there are no hits on this one compared to the previous record.

Ukrainian fans pay special attention to the band’s music. Born in Kyiv Oblast, Yevhen Hudz left Ukraine but gave a breakthrough for its music in the world. The band plays to please both Ukrainian and international audiences – this must be the key to its success. For the Western audience, Gogol Bordello is relaxing controlled chaos that brings many back to the roots. For Ukrainians, the band’s vocalist Yevhen is someone close and understandable, and a model of success. Gogol Bordello invades the music scene with a mix of Hutsul notes, Odesa charm and unforgettable aesthetics. This authenticity makes it popular across nations.

Pura Vida Conspiracy translates Gogol Bordello’s key message: be yourself and travel wherever you wish because borders are just scars on the planet’s face, Yevhen sings in a new song. This seems true and authentic since the lead singer himself lives a transnational life. Authenticity is bound to reach out to people: most of them have a dream of freedom deep inside, where it’s just them and the road, and nothing to hold them back. Sadly, nothing to return to as well – the violins and Yevhen’s slight vibrato convey this sadness. This is the essence of the new record: if you dig deeper, you will find a serious grain under the buffoonery surface. Yevhen plays fool to share his personal pains. But he does this softly, as if after long all-night talks at home when all words are said and no longer matter. Even the sad songs like I Just Realised sound wise rather than hopeless.

READ ALSO: Harmonizing Ethno Chaos


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