This promises to be a magical evening of deeply satisfying Eastern European music with an Old World flavor and modern spices tossed in, plus some crazy gypsy punk revelry.
I was first introduced to DeVotchKa through their brilliant 2004 release How It Ends. Since then, they’ve released the 6-track EP Curse Your Little Heart (2006) and A Mad & Faithful Telling (2008). Nick Urata (vocals, theremin, guitar, bouzouki, piano, trumpet); Tom Hagerman (violin, accordion, and piano); Jeanie Schroder (vocals, sousaphone, double bass); and Shawn King (percussion, trumpet) blend Eastern European tradition with American folk music and punk attitude. From the orchestral sound of “The Clockwise Witness” – with rich, soothing vocals from Urata – to the gypsy “Basso Profundo”, they whip up complex, multi-layered instrumentation and lots of heart into a potent brew. Celebratory wedding music, wistful vocal yearnings… the result is a beautiful auditory smorgasbord. They must be quite phenomenal live.
Then there’s the Eastern European celebratory gypsy punk of Gogol Bordello (named after the Russian novelist Nikolai Gogol). These guys are really fascinating – members hail from the Ukraine, Russia, Israel, Ethiopia, Ecuador, Scotland… oh yeah, and the U.S. Musically, they’re this wonderfully rich cultural stew of influences. Listening to Gogol Bordello is like stepping into the midst of Jewish wedding with guests from South America and a Jamaican ska band performing. Yes, there’s an accordion. There’s also acoustic guitars and violin, some exotic percussion, and Eugene Hütz’s strongly yang vocals, which brings in that defiant punk sensibility. Seriously fun stuff. It’s also worthwhile to visit their MySpace page, not just to listen to some of their musical mayhem, but to read Hütz’s brilliant thesis (and rant) on the importance of music in our lives.
Apparently they put on quite a performance as well. For a bit of their vibe, check out “American Wedding”.
The release of their new album Transcontinental Hustle is in just a few days (April 27) on Columbia Records.
Beginning the evening’s festivities is New York-based Jesse Malin & The St. Marks Social, a more straight-ahead folky type of punk music, but definitely a good sound and energy – so get there early!
East Coast Shows
Wed. Apr 28 @ 8:00P House of Blues, Boston MA
Thurs. Apr 29 @ 8:00P Rams Head Live!, Baltimore, Maryland
Fri. Apr 30 @ 8:00P Rams Head Live!, Baltimore, Maryland
Sat. May 1 @ 8:30P The Electric Factory, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania