With members originating as far afield as Moscow, the Ukraine and Israel, Gogol Bordello could only have come together in a city a large and diverse as New York. Singer/lyricist Eugene Hutz came to the United States in 1996, after spending seven years trekking through Eastern Europe refugee camps after the Chernobyl meltdown. Over the years, Hutz met the eclectic group of talented musicians that make up Gogol Bordello, and together they have been putting on a unique show that, at times, resembles a three-ring circus! As Hutz puts it, "We create an insane party atmosphere to deliver messages of social and political commentary." With their first recorded effort, Voi-La Intruder, fiddles, accordions and an assortment of other instruments wage war against one another for ascendency. And as crazy as it sounds, the disc actually went a long way toward capturing the joie de vivre of the band's live shows. In 2002, Gogol Bordello released their sophomore album, Multi Kontra Culti vs. Irony, which seamlessly blended sounds as diverse as punk, gypsy, folk and cabaret. Darker in tone than its predecessor, Multi Kontra Culti vs. Irony added a dash of theatrics to the mix, creating what Russians call "cruel romance" music. Hutz, a skilled DJ who routinely blends elements of Balkan, Indian and Arab music with a heady dose of dancehall and electronic beats, drew upon this experience for 2004's Gogol Bordello vs. Tamir Muskat. The album's crazed, party atmosphere and ferocious beats was a slight left turn for the band, who chose a more "traditional" sound for the following year's East Infection. Never a band to rest on its laurels, Gogol Bordello also released Gypsy Punk: Underdog World Strike in the same year for the uber punk label, SideOneDummy. Gypsy PunkÃÂÃÂ
was produced by noisemeister Steve Albini, and furthered Hutz's sonic cocktail of foot-stomping, traditional gypsy music with chaotic, anthemic punk. That summer, Gogol Bordello treated punks of all ages to their frenetic, sweaty live show when they toured as part of the Vans' Warped Tour.