Thomas Gobena (of Gogol Bordello)

Thomas Gobena (of Gogol Bordello)

Gogol Bordello is a Gypsy punk band from the Lower East Side of Manhattan, formed in 1999 and known for theatrical stage shows and persistent touring.

Much of the band's sound is inspired by Gypsy music. The band incorporates accordion and violin (and on some albums, saxophone) mixed with punk and dub.

The band has appeared in a number of independent films, most notably in 2005's Everything Is Illuminated in which the lead singer, Eugene Hütz, co-starred with Elijah Wood in a dramedy and adventure story about the Nazi purges in Ukraine. The entire group was present for one shot in which they played a brass band in a set that included the Star Spangled Banner. They also played the traditional Yiddish tune "Bublitschki". Gogol Bordello contributed the song "Start Wearing Purple" to the film's score.

The band also has their own documentary called Gogol Bordello Non-Stop. This documentary was filmed in 2008 and follows the band's progress.

In 2012, the band recorded a new song titled 'Let's Get Crazy' for Coca Cola's Euro 2012 advertising campaign.

History and influences

"Gogol" comes from the name Nikolai Gogol. As one of the most influential writers in Ukrainian and Russian literature, Gogol paved the way for the likes of Kafka and Dostoyevsky. He also serves as an ideological influence for the band because he "smuggled" Ukrainian culture into Russian society, which Gogol Bordello intends to do with Gypsy/ East-European music in the English-speaking world. "Bordello," in Italian, refers to a brothel or a "gentleman's club." The band was originally titled Hütz and the Béla Bartóks, but Eugene Hütz says that they decided to change the name because "nobody knows who the hell Béla Bartók is in the United States." The band played their first show as the unofficial band at an after-hours club called Pizdetz where they became the house band and DJ Hütz became the house DJ.

Gogol Bordello's first single was released in 1999, and since then they have released five full-length albums, and one EP. In 2005 the band signed to punk label SideOneDummy Records. On 27 April 2010 Gogol Bordello made its major record label debut with Transcontinental Hustle on Rick Rubin's American Recordings, a subsidiary of Columbia Records/Sony Music Entertainment. Many of the songs on Transcontinental Hustle were inspired by Hütz's move to Brazil.

The band has toured tirelessly throughout Europe and America. They have made numerous appearances at international festivals and have toured with such diverse bands as Primus, Flogging Molly, and Cake. In an interview with NPR, frontman Eugene Hütz cites Jimi Hendrix and Parliament-Funkadelic as among the band's main musical influences. They have mentioned Manu Chao, Fugazi, Zvuki Mu, Karamelo Santo, Sasha Kolpakov and The Clash as influences as well.

They performed live at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts festival 2011 for Bonnaroo's 10 year anniversary, playing a 1.5 hour set in the middle of the night and performed with Devotchka.

Gogol Bordello released a new song titled 'Let's Get Crazy' in 2012 as part of Coca Cola's advertising campaign for the upcoming European Football Championships, which are part-hosted by Ukraine. The track samples one of their earlier singles, Wonderlust King, and the Coca Cola advertising jingle.



    Late Show with David Letterman (July 31, 2007)
    The Henry Rollins Show (August 10, 2007)
    Jimmy Kimmel Live! (March 22, 2006 and September 5, 2007)
    Programa do Jô (Brazilian talk show - November 10, 2009)
    Late Night with Conan O'Brien (July 30, 2008)
    Later... with Jools Holland (June 16, 2006 and April 16, 2010)
    Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (April 26, 2010)
    The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (October 13, 2010)
    The Daily Habit (November 8, 2010)

The song "60 Revolutions" was featured on season 2 episode 12, "Trapdoor" of the US TV drama Life.

Music festivals

Gogol Bordello has appeared in a multitude of American and international music festivals. A significant step towards greater publicity was made when Eugene Hütz and violinist Sergey Ryabtsev joined Madonna on stage. Hütz and Ryabtsev performed "La Isla Bonita / Lela Pala Tute" with Madonna at the London Live Earth concert on July 7, 2007.

Gogol Bordello's appearances have included:

    All Points West Music & Arts Festival on August 1, 2009
    Austin City Limits Music Festival 2008 on September 26 and 2010 on October 9.
    Balkanfest in Kyiv, Ukraine, December 2009
    Be2gether 2009 on June 12–14
    Bestival Isle of Wight 2006
    Bilbao BBK Live in Bilbao, Spain on 9 July 2010
    Bonnaroo in 2007, 2008, & 2011
    Bumbershoot in Seattle, WA, US in 2003 and 2007
    Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in 2007 & 2008 & 2011
    Colours of Ostrava music festival (Czech Republic) in 2008 on the Česká spořitelna Stage
    Creation of Peace in Kazan, Russia on June 25, 2011
    Diversafest July 24, 2009
    Edgefest in Arizona 2008
    Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2008 in San Francisco on October 5
    Hurricane Festival Germany 2011
    L.A. Weekly Detour Festival on October 4, 2008
    Lollapalooza in Chicago on August 1, 2008 & August 7, 2010,in São Paulo on April 8, 2012 and in Santiago on 31 March, 2012.
    Mile High Music Festival
    Optimus Alive! in Oeiras, Portugal on 10 July 2008 & 10 July 2010
    Orlando Calling in Orlando, Florida on 12 November 2011
    Osheaga in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on 4 August 2008
    Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival in San Francisco, California on Saturday August 14, 2010
    Pinkpop on May 30, 2010
    Reading and Leeds Festival on 22 and 25 August 2006, August 24 and 25, 2007 & 27th and 29 August 2010
    Rock for People 2009
    Rock im Park on June 2007 & 2010 in Nuremberg (Germany)
    Rock in Rio on August 2012 in Madrid (Spain)
    Rock Otočec at Otočec, Slovenia on 28 June 2012
    Roskilde Festival on July 4, 2009, where they replaced Lil' Wayne, who had cancelled his show due to illness. They received a 6-star review in the festival newspaper, the only band that year to receive 6 stars.
    Sasquatch Festival May 2009
    Southside Festival June 2011 (Germany)
    Stare Misto in Lviv, Ukraine, June 2009
    Summer Camp Chilicothe, Illinois 2012
    TFF.Rudolstadt 2009
    Tim Festival on October 24 and 25, 2009 in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
    Vegoose on October 27, 2007
    Virgin Mobile Festival on August 9, 2008
    Voodoo Experience on October 31, 2009
    Warped Tour
    1st Annual WFNX Clam Bake (Acoustic set) on June 27, 2010 in Boston, MA
    Pukkelpop Festival on August 21, 2010 in Kiewit, Belgium.
    Reading and Leeds Festivals, August 29–31, 2010 in England, UK
    Beautiful Days Festival, 2007, 2011
    WOMAD Charlton Park, 2011
    Hurricane Festival Scheessel, 2011
    Newport Folk Festival (Acoustic) Fort Adams State Park, on July 30, 2011
    Festival du bout du monde (World music) in Crozon peninsula, Brittany, France on August 7, 2011
    Boomtown Fair August 2011, England, UK
    Sziget Festival in Budapest, Hungary on August 14, 2011
    Kulturarena in Jena, Germany on August 17, 2011
    North Coast Music Festival in Chicago, Illinois on September 4, 2011
    Festival Imperial 2012, San José, Costa Rica, Mar 24-25, 2012
    Vive Latino, Fesitval Iberoamericano in Mexico City March 25, 2012
    Lollapalooza Chile in Santiago de Chile March 31, 2012
    Lollapalooza Brazil in São Paulo Jockey Club April, 7 2012
    Summer Camp Music Festival in Peoria, Il Three Sister's Park May, 25 2012
    Rock in Rio Madrid 2012 July 7, 2012.
    Marés Vivas TMN In Oporto July 20, 2012.
    Gentlemen of the Road Tour in Dixon, Il. on August 18, 2012 & in Monterey, Ca. on August 25, 2012
    Open'er Festival in Gdynia, Poland on June 4, 2012
    Maquinaria Festival in Mexico City, Mexico on November 3, 2012


    2004 - Kill Your Idols - Hütz was interviewed in this documentary about New York's "No Wave" music scene.
    2005 - Everything Is Illuminated - In Liev Schreiber's directorial debut, which stars Elijah Wood, the role of Alexander Perchov was played by Eugene Hütz. It includes cameo appearances by other Gogol Bordello members in the train scene.
    2006 - The Pied Piper Of Hützovina - Documentary by Pavla Fleischer about a road trip she and Eugene Hütz took to Ukraine to trace his roots.
    2006 - Wristcutters: A Love Story - "Eugene," played by American actor Shea Whigham, is partly based on Eugene Hütz, whose music ("Through the Roof and Underground" and "Occurrence on the Border") is featured in the film as that recorded by the character's old band. Contrary to the belief that he has received no credit for this, the film credits show the copyrights for both Gogol Bordello songs, as well as giving thanks to Eugene multiple times throughout the credit roll.
    2008 - Filth and Wisdom - The entire band appeared in this independent film directed by Madonna. Eugene Hütz is the protagonist. Madonna also allowed Eugene to add his own dialogue into the script.
    2008 - Gogol Bordello Non-Stop - The development of the band was documented in this film directed by Margarita Jimeno. It follows the band's rise from underground legends to international fame from 2001 to 2007.
    2009 - Larger Than Life in 3D - Live High-def digital concert footage shot in stereoscopic 3-D at the Austin City Limits festival in October 2009.
    2009- Live From Axis Mundi: Professionally recorded live concert footage shot in New York.
    2010- Grain: 'Against the Nature' appears on the credits.


Current members

    Eugene Hütz (lead vocals, acoustic guitar, percussion) - Ukraine (1999-present)
    Sergey Ryabtsev (violin, backing vocals) - Russia (2000-present)
    Yuri Lemeshev (accordion, backing vocals) - Russia (2001-present)
    Elizabeth Sun (percussion, backing vocals, dance, general performance) - China/Scotland (2004-present)
    Thomas "Tommy T" Gobena (bass backing vocals) - Ethiopia (2006-present)
    Pedro Erazo (percussion, MC) - Ecuador (2007-present)
    Oliver Charles(drums) – USA (2009-present)
    Michael Bernard Ward (Guitar / Backing Vocals) - German/French/Norwegian (2012-present)

Former members

    Pamela Racine (percussion, backing vocals, dance, general performance) - USA
    Eliot Ferguson (drums, backing vocals)
    Karl Alvarez (bass)
    Rea Mochiach (bass, percussion, electronics and beat programming in the studio, backing vocals) - Israel
    Sasha Kazatchkoff (accordion)
    Vlad Solovar (guitar) Romania
    Ori Kaplan - saxophone, (co leads Balkan Beat Box with Tamir Muskat), backing vocals, (no relation to Oren Kaplan) - Israel
    Susan Donaldson (percussion, backing vocals, dance, general performance)
    James Ward (accordion) - Scotland
    Andra Ursuta (percussion, backing vocals, dance, general performance) - Romania
    Katheryn McGaffigan (fill-in percussion, backing vocals, dance, general performance)
    Chris Tattersall (drums, backing vocals) - United Kingdom
    Oren Kaplan (guitar, backing vocals) - Israel (2000-2012)



    Voi-La Intruder – 1999 (Rubric Records)
    Multi Kontra Culti vs. Irony - September 2002 (Rubric Records), 2XLP - December 2006
    Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike - August 2005 (SideOneDummy Records), 2XLP - March 2006
    Super Taranta! - 10 July 2007 (SideOneDummy Records) US No. 115, UK No. 67, 2XLP - July 2007
    Live from Axis Mundi - 2009 (SideOneDummy Records), Live album with DVD
    Trans-Continental Hustle - 27 April 2010 (American Recordings) UK # 66, US No. 62, CAN No. 79
    Моя Цыганиада [My Tsyganiada] - 2011
    Pura Vida Conspiracy - 2013


    East Infection - January 2005 (Rubric Records)
    Moja Tsiganiada (Моя Цыганиада), also known as Russo, a Russian and Ukrainian-language album - 2011 (Extra Estrada Records)


    "When the Trickster Starts a-Poking" - 2002, Rubric Records
    "Start Wearing Purple" / "Sally" - February 2006, SideOneDummy Records
    "Not a Crime" - August 2006, SideOneDummy
    "Wonderlust King"[20] - August 2007, SideOneDummy, No. 11 UK Indie
    "Immigraniada (We Comin’ Rougher)" - 2010, American Records


    Punk Rock Strike Vol. 4 - 2003. Springman Records.
    2005 Warped Tour Compilation - 2005. SideOneDummy Records.
    2006 Warped Tour Compilation - 2006. SideOneDummy Records.
    Gypsy Beats and Balkan Bangers - 2006. Atlantic Jaxx.
    The Rough Guide to Planet Rock - 2006. World Music Network.
    2007 Warped Tour Compilation - 2007. SideOneDummy Records.

Side projects

    Gogol Bordello vs. Tamir Muskat - August 2004. A collaboration between Gogol Bordello and members of Balkan Beat Box, under the name J.U.F., an initialism for Jewish-Ukrainian Freundschaft. Stinky Records.
    The Prester John Sessions Tommy T - 2009. Solo album by Gogol Bordello's Ethiopian bassist Thomas Gobena with guest appearances by the band, and Ethiopian singer Gigi. Easy Star

    In 2011, Eugene Hutz contributed a version of the track "A Cidade" in collaboration with DJ Dolores, Otto, Isaar, and Fred 04 the Red Hot Organization's most recent charitable album "Red Hot+Rio 2." The album is a follow-up to the 1996 "Red Hot + Rio." Proceeds from the sales will be donated to raise awareness and money to fight AIDS/HIV and related health and social issues.

Tagged as:

Gogol Bordello, Thomas Gobena, SPAIN, Entertainers, SPAIN


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