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“We’re all performers by nature, and we have a great interaction and chemistry on stage that keeps us all spontaneous; it’s crucial," Hütz said.



On Monday, New York City’s Gogol Bordello brings its high-energy gypsy punk to Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa.

Formed in 1999 in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the act pushes borders outward, experimenting with Italian, dub, reggae, punk, Tex-Mex and classical influences planted firmly within the Ukrainian Gypsy influences frontman Eugene Hütz grew up with.

“We don’t really consider [our shows] to be high-energy; it’s just our energy,” Hütz said. “We’re all performers by nature, and we have a great interaction and chemistry on stage that keeps us all spontaneous; it’s crucial. Every single person in our band, their energy is so impactful on everybody else’s energy. For us, it’s just energy — joyous, creative, cathartic energy.”

The core of the group’s early members were Eastern European, each with their own musical background. Fascinated by unorthodox bands like Suicide, Sonic Youth and Beastie Boys, the group — well-known for leaving piles of destroyed sound equipment in its wake — combined a postmodern approach with its unique heritage and gave birth to what’s now dubbed Gypsy punk.

“It’s just a free flow, really, of creative joy,” Hütz said. “I really don’t think there’s any other way to approach art.”

Pura Vida Conspiracy takes its name from the chant of a Colombian crowd during the band’s Latin American tour. After leaving the stage, Hütz and company heard the crowd yelling “Pura vida!” It had an energy to it that Hütz felt life should have.

“When we scream on stage, it’s to acknowledge all cultures are beautiful masks, but they only take you so far — to a nice carnival or masquerade. True human spirit is beyond culture,” Hütz said. “That’s why my main interest is in human potential. Music is a way to explore that, and you can see how it links up with the idea of pura vida. Pura Vida is pure life; Conspiracy is wordplay on the fact that most of the people in the world are so focused on everything going wrong that they fail to see the 50 percent going right.”

The album’s definitive track, Hütz said, is “We Rise Again.” It continues the band’s efforts to achieve a sort of world citizenship that was started with its 2010 release, Trans-Continental Hustle. Another Pura Vida track, “It Is The Way You Name Your Ship,” captures the motion of a rocking pirate vessel, an easy task with Gogol Bordello’s primal sound.

“The song is about the power of the word and its intent,” Hütz said. “Naming your ship determines where you go and how you get there.”

He said the album stays true to the group’s polyamorous sound and combines an adventurous spirit with a stronger rock anchor.

Once known for its incessant touring, these days, the act takes things just a little bit more slowly. Its members wanted more personal time and more flexibility to pursue other creative ventures.

Hütz said Monday’s stop at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa might be the last time the band is seen in Oklahoma for quite awhile.

And it will be worth the trek from Oklahoma City.

“The show’s on the road, and we have some original members back. It’s a very special tour, and you’ll see us in a cool, rock ’n’ roll experience,” Hütz said.

Print headline: Nomadic sound, Gypsy punk stalwart Gogol Bordello brings its peripatetic sound to Cain’s Ballroom on Monday.

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