First Embraces with Balkan Gypsy Punk
I can remember the exact moment when the first sounds of that spastic and swirling blend of traditional ethnic folk music blended with Punk burst against my eardrums to a frantic pace. Surfing through the several hundred plus satellite channels available in my Croatian apartment, mostly between South Korean news and RTE Television, I came across Gogol Bordello
The video Wonderlust King, a cross between a Beastie Boys music video and a carnival side show attraction you would find along the Coney Island boardwalk during the Vaudeville days. These sounds evoked long nights in dark Brooklyn clubs experiencing the raw sounds of punk music. A fitting homage to my youthful days, since this was the first night in several months I had to myself, while Dayna enjoyed a girl's night out. Fitting also, since Gogol Bordello was formed in the Lower East side of Manhattan in 1999.
Ethnic Gypsy Punk, termed as such because of its use of traditional ethnic Balkan instruments and blended with Punk/Rock sounds found a welcome place as my favorite genre of music in our Eastern European excursion. I welcomed its presence on every rogue radio station during a car trip, streaming internet play-list and gathering with friends.
On a rather cold and dismal Romanian winter night in December I sat down to watch a, hilarious and wacky Gypsy comedy, unknowing that it would expose me to even more Gypsy Punk greatness. The movie Black Cat, White Cat is crammed full of heartfelt and playfully melodic nonesense that makes you want to pull up your favorite lawn chair to the Danube, with a cooler of beer and celebrate the night away fiddle in in hand, next to a campfire
Can't you just see this guy rocking out?
Sadly I have experienced none of this folksy comedic debauchery while enjoying the Balkans. Maybe , just maybe as we head back through Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina , FYROM and Greece on our way back from Turkey we will happen upon some authentic ethnic Roma music in the countryside and Gypsy Punk in Eastern European clubs. If Punk is as near and dear to your musical soul as mine and you are keen to explore the world of Gypsy Punk you might try a few of these memorable bands
Some Worthwhile Balkans Style Gypsy Punk Bands
The Tower of Dudes have a blue grass sound mixed too a tone of Flogging Molly. Usually a bit slower and folksy than the more upbeat styling of Gogol Bordello
Kultur Shock is a Seattle-based band with members from Bosnia and Bulgaria. They mix punk and rock and bit more metal than other Gypsy Punk counterparts.
Hoseff, more blues and melodic than Punk currently resides and tours in the United States. Claiming to be descendents of a 12th century Spanish Gypsy clan with the same name, their music offers a deeper more relaxing experience than frenetic sound of other Gypsy Punk.
I will leave you with my favorite American punk rock music video. From the my favorite American punk band.
Have you experienced the joys of Gypsy Punk or been introduced to foreign takes on musical genres otherwise native to your home country while traveling?
I am aware that the word 'gypsy' can carry negative conotations in many cultures; in this article that is not my intention.