Title

AUTHENTICITY AND WHAT IT MEANS TO GOGOL BORDELLO

Presenter Information

Shannon Soderlund

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

Gogol Bordello is a self-proclaimed “Gypsy-punk” band. The band’s leader, Eugene Hütz, emphasizes the “realness” of his music while challenging the authenticity of other syncretic musics (such as the broadly-defined genre of “world music”). However, Hütz’s legitimacy as a Gypsy musician has been challenged by Roma (Gypsy) individuals in his home country of Ukraine.

To evaluate these contested claims of authenticity, I examine Russian Gypsy music to determine why Hütz’s reputation is in question. I then draw upon the works of James Young, a philosopher at the University of Victoria, who studies the aesthetic and moral implications of cultural appropriation. Young’s theories will serve as a background in my analysis of Gogol Bordello. While traditional definitions of music are valuable and must be considered, it is presumptuous to assume that these definitions are the only ones that matter. As information sharing increases contact between world cultures, conceptions of music as a cultural expression should be open to change.

Category

Visual and Performing Arts (including Creative Writing)

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Apr 15th, 1:40 PM Apr 15th, 2:00 PM

AUTHENTICITY AND WHAT IT MEANS TO GOGOL BORDELLO

UC 326

Gogol Bordello is a self-proclaimed “Gypsy-punk” band. The band’s leader, Eugene Hütz, emphasizes the “realness” of his music while challenging the authenticity of other syncretic musics (such as the broadly-defined genre of “world music”). However, Hütz’s legitimacy as a Gypsy musician has been challenged by Roma (Gypsy) individuals in his home country of Ukraine.

To evaluate these contested claims of authenticity, I examine Russian Gypsy music to determine why Hütz’s reputation is in question. I then draw upon the works of James Young, a philosopher at the University of Victoria, who studies the aesthetic and moral implications of cultural appropriation. Young’s theories will serve as a background in my analysis of Gogol Bordello. While traditional definitions of music are valuable and must be considered, it is presumptuous to assume that these definitions are the only ones that matter. As information sharing increases contact between world cultures, conceptions of music as a cultural expression should be open to change.