Piper of Hützovina
HUTZ, THE LEAD SINGER of successful New York Gypsy punk band Gogol Bordello,
met London filmmaker Pavla Fleischer at a party. She fell under the spell of
this enigmatic young man who, like her, was living in the West but was of East
A week later, in the summer of 2004, Pavla went with Eugene on a car journey
through Eastern Europe. She enjoyed being with him, and because she wanted to
recapture the spirit of that first time together, she later organised another
trip back to the Ukraine Eugene's home country with
plans to visit other parts of Eastern Europe, so that she could film him as
he rediscovered his musical roots and sought musical inspiration from the gypsy
culture he was determined to preserve.
This compulsive documentary, The Pied Piper of Hutzovina, is the result
of that road trip. It is the story of two people travelling together
on different courses a journey that tests their relationship and
gives them an alternative view of the gypsy music they both love.
Starting with Serbian gypsy Boban Marcovic's concert in Budapest, Eugene moves
on to the local gypsy radio station where he presents his particular energetic
brand of gypsy-punk music. Unfortunately for Pavla, Eugene has brought another
woman on their trip and will not allow her to be filmed.
Uzhhorod, the Carpathian region of the Ukraine, is surrounded by a large number
of gypsy camps and Eugene is soon accepted in those he visits. His family are
from the Sirva clan and he used to spend summers in that area. Now he finds
himself drawn to it.
When Eugene was a child, he came to a wedding at the Muchacevo Gypsy Camp. Pavla
meets a sad little girl called Zita there, but can't understand the words she
uses to explain her sadness. Eugene says "They are living on a planet that is
on a planet… they were excited that somebody came; that somebody knew they existed.
Their sadness is so overwhelming…" With a single note on a borrowed guitar,
Eugene is hooked emotionally.
At Svaljava Gypsy Camp, there is singing and dancing. Romantic and seductive,
gypsy music is so diverse which is why Eugene collects music from
all over the world. He has a magnetic personality and wherever he goes he attracts
followers much like the legendary Pied Piper.
In Moscow, Eugene watches his friend's concert before going on to Serbia to
meet Eugene's musical hero Sasha Kolpakov a gypsy dancer and maestro
of the 7-string guitar who was interested in
the attraction Eugene's music had for young people. Then it was back to the
Kiev neighbourhood where Eugene grew up before meeting the disapproving head
of the Kiev Gypsy Theatre who does not like Eugene's music as he insists that
gypsy music must be pure.
Eugene's grandmother, who "put a gypsy seed" in his mind is very important to
him and the film is dedicated to her: "In memory of Babushka Shura (1924 to
Slingshot Studios presents an APT film of
the energetic road trip starring Eugene Hutz, The Pied Piper of Hutzovina.
It is available now to buy and rent on DVD. RRP £12.99; Special features: Mini
Docu-mentary Behind the Scenes, Music Clips, Music Video
Start Wearing Purple; Theatrical Trailer; Pilot Promo.
65 minutes running time. Colour; English; Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1; Sound Source:
Dolby Digital. Catalogue Number: SLINGSHOT001.
"Hutz's epic odyssey to explore the land and music of his Ukranian forebears
is actually fantastic" Time Out, London
"The Pied Piper of Hutzovina is an intimate insight into this wild star,
made by a filmmaker upon whom he clearly made a big impression" Songline Magazine
"There couldn't be a better ambassador for gypsy music's infectious appeal.
Hutz draws a following no matter what he does" The Times
Eugene Hutz and his New York-based Gypsy punk band Gogol Bordello are currently
just about the coolest band around, with Kerrang magazine describing Hutz as
"one of the great rock frontmen ever" and NME placing him on their
'Cool List'. After stealing the show at LIVE EARTH, when Eugene and fellow band
member Sergey were invited by Madonna to perform a very special rendition of
her number one hit La Isla Bonita mixed with the traditional Romany song,
Lela Pala Tute, a live staple for Gogol Bordello, and performed in the
Romany language, The Independent commented that the performance had "captured
the global span of the event in a way that no-one else had managed."
Gogol Bordello's new album, Super Ta Super Taranta is out now. It
was released on 9 July 2007 and entered the Independent Chart at
No 3 (after only The White Stripes and the Arctic Monkeys) and
UK Album Chart Top 75.
Gogol Bordello comprises Eugene Hutz on vocals, guitar and percussion, Sergey
Rjabtzev on violin, Yuri Lemeshev on accordion, Eliot Ferguson on drums, Oren
Kaplan on guitar, dancer/percussionists Elizabeth Sun and Pamela Jintana Racine
and the bass-player from Ethiopia, Tommy Gobena.
Gogol Bordello returned to the UK in August for performances at The Beautiful
Days Festival in Exetervon and the Reading/ Leeds Festiv-alvon.
In 2005, Eugene Hutz starred alongside Elijah Wood in Liv Schreiber's film,
Everything Is Illuminated.