The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Soul-Searching Frequencies: Eugene Hütz Of Gogol Bordello's Favourite LPs
Julian Marszalek , August 15th, 2013 06:58

Following the release of their new album Pura Vida Conspiracy, Gogol Bordello's frontman trawls his records collection to pick out his top 13


Taraf de Haïdouks – Band Of Gypsies
This is a Romanian band that is practically like, what do you call it when you have the best soccer players from your country? Ah, the national team! This is like the national team of Romanian folk music.

I had this CD of a band from Romania in the early 90s and it didn’t even have a title and it was kind of frightening. It was upbeat but kind of like a folk Funhouse. It was like that same rage but from the countryside of Romania. Anyway, I was listening to it – I got it from my musicologist friend – and I kept going back to it lot. It was my formative years when I was listening to a lot of Béla Bartók and a couple of years went on and then I saw this album called Band Of Gypsies from Romania’s Taraf de Haïdouks and I was like, wow, wait a second, so I picked it up and listened to it and it sounded like that CD but with a lot more horsepower to it. Maybe like three times more people playing it and better recorded. And I saw the names and I realised that this band was part of that other band and someone had gone over from Belgium or Germany to Romania, enchanted with this sound, and gathered this band to turn them into a touring entity. I met these guys and we played some shows together and jammed onstage in Romania and they came to the United States and played the Carnegie Hall and did amazing runs throughout the world until the leader, who was kind of like the Jimi Hendrix of the group – he was quite old - Nicolae Neacșu, he passed away several years ago.

That was a pretty big influence on me throughout the whole formative years of Gogol Bordello. I love The Pogues and Shane MacGowan’s lyrics, I really do, but I felt more connection, at least at this point, with Taraf de Haïdouks.