Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Help in the Sack: Gogol Bordello and "John the Conqueror"

A song based on a folk hero is our random tune for today, and is performed by Gogol Bordello. Gogol Bordello was formed in 1999 in the lower east side of Manhattan, and is known for their sound of gypsy-inspired music mixed with punk and dub. Originally called Hütz and the Béla Bartóks, they changed their name when they realized nobody knew who Béla Bartók was. Instead, Gogol is the last name of classical Russian-Ukrainian writer Nikolai Gogol, and bordello is a gentlemen's club. The band tours relentlessly, and cites Parliament-Funkadelic as one of their main influences. They have released nine studio albums. This song, John the Conqueror (Truth is Always the Same), references the folk hero with magical powers from African-American folklore, and is also the name of a root used in folk magic for sexual spells and gambling spells. You can find it on Gogol Bordello's 2013 CD Pura Vida Conspiracy.