Rapper Gipsy.cz collaborates with Ukrainian “Gypsy punks” Gogol Bordello

Gogol Bordello, photo: www.gogolbordello.com

The New York-Ukrainian rock group Gogol Bordello describe their music as “Gypsy punk”. It is perhaps appropriate then that they have hooked up with Gipsy.cz; the Czech Romany rapper has done a special remix of the track Alcohol on the Czech release of the band’s latest LP. I discussed that collaboration and more with Gogol Bordello singer Eugene Hutz.

Gipsy.cz appeared on stage with Gogol Bordello at Prague’s Archa theatre on Saturday night during Alcohol, a song Gipsy has remixed as an extra track on the Czech version of the album Super Taranta! Just ahead of the show, I grabbed a few words with Gogol Bordello’s charismatic Ukrainian frontman Eugene Hutz. Hutz, an occasional actor, literally made an impression on the world stage when he appeared with Madonna at Live Earth in July.

How did the collaboration with the rather less well-known Gipsy come about?

“It came about as all good collaborations do, hanging out, becoming friends, tossing ideas about and basically improvising together. Then it was like, let’s put it on a tape.”

At Live Earth Madonna called you and your violin player her “Gypsy Romany” friends. What did her use of that introduction mean, and what did it mean that you actually appeared there with her?

“It means a lot of stuff in terms of public perception. First of all it was very…you know, Madonna rehearses everything micro-detail style, and they were not random words. It’s important to let people know who don’t have any idea what ‘Romany’ is. If you go out in Canada or the States and say, Romany they’ll say, what does it mean, Romanian? That’s why the phrase was constructed like that – Romany and Gypsy, so people can make the connection, and know the proper term and the derogatory term.”

You made the film Everything is Illuminated here in the Czech Republic – what was that experience like, and do you have any particular strong memories of spending time in the Czech Republic?

“Yeah (laughs), I have a lot of memories. Most of them are very foggy. If you watch the film you can see that I’m hungover most of the time.”