Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on May 18th 2010 1:30PM by Simona Rabinovitch
With that, the enigmatic Hütz lets out a playful giggle, the "domestic" part perhaps a cheeky reference to his rumoured girlfriend, a samba dancer he followed to Brazil.
Regardless, the move south was an important influence in Gogol Bordello's new record, 'Trans-Continental Hustle,' the gypsy punk band's fifth album and first major label release.
It also marks their debut collaboration with legendary producer Rick Rubin, co-founder of Def Jam and American Recordings and the bearded wizard behind hit albums by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dixie Chicks, Johnny Cash and Jay-Z.
With nine band members coming together from all over the world, including Russia, Ethiopia, Israel, Scotland, America and Ecuador, Gogol Bordello has rocked an international swagger since their 1999 debut, 'Voi-La Intruder.' Yet Rio de Janeiro worked its sensual, sun-drenched magic on its larger-than-life frontman.
"Brazil gave me a lot of inspiration," Hütz says, explaining that the song 'In the Meantime in Pernambuco' is about exploring the remote Northern province of the same name. "It has nothing to do with samba and bossa nova. It has to do with discovering their local music of 'frevo' and hanging out there with my friend, who's also my big hero, Manu Chao, who helped me to get kind of more inside of Brazil since he spent a lot of time there. That's inspiring! You come from another part of the world, you explore local culture from such a different Afro-Brazilian point and you find solidarity with people."
As for 'Uma Menina Uma Cigana,' it tells a tale of Brazilian gypsies. "It's kind of constructed from my conversations and partying with them, really, and having our bonding experience become so family-like, you know, where it's just priceless because you're essentially on the other part of the world," Hütz says of his newfound crew of Brazilian nomads. "They preserve the culture that came essentially from Eastern Europe in such a tropical setting!"
If you think a rowdy, moustachioed urbanite might feel a tad out of place among the coconuts, thongs and palms of Rio, you've got another thing coming. "People oftentimes ask me, 'You and Brazil -- I never saw you as a beach person.'" To which Hütz replies, "'Like, why not?' I mean, I'm not a dedicated beach person, but it's there. The whole Rio de Janeiro is basically a beach, so with the artists I know from Rio, we have our kind of beach club, too. It's not a fancy thing, it's just something you do once or twice a day even -- go to the beach and talk and hang out and have a drink. The lifestyle is completely different. Going to the beach is not something that takes effort, it's like going to your kitchen."
While Brazil's impact on Gogol Bordello's music is undeniable, even this can't be taken too literally. "The writing process is like constructing a puzzle," Hütz explains in his thick Eastern European accent. "I write several songs at once all the time and every song is a collage, so you use details of your own story, of other people's stories, and you're completing this new puzzle in a way -- it's not really as linear as people think of it. The storytelling is not straightforward, it just paints an atmosphere, you know?"