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DFest Headliners: Delta Spirit and Gogol Bordello

Oklahoman Modified: July 22, 2009 at 11:16 am •  Published: July 22, 2009

The Delta Spirit

The raw spirit of indie rock. An amplified, rocking version of 1960s protest folk. The soulful passion of the Violent Femmes and the Waterboys. All of these comparisons have been made attempting to describe Delta Spirit, the southern California five-piece band that might just be one of the most important new bands of the decade. Each description contains elements of the truth, but the real answer to the question “who is Delta Spirit?” lies within “Ode to Sunshine,” the band’s captivating debut.

The group’s DIY ethic shines throughout the album, with songs honed razor-sharp over a year of non-stop touring across America.

Opening sold-out tours for Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah, Cold War Kids, and Dr. Dog, the band developed a riveting live show and gained a loyal following amongst tastemaker music fans, earning them invites to national festivals like Austin City Limits, Noise Pop and Sasquatch.

So it would not be an understatement to call Ode to Sunshine one of the year’s most highly-anticipated debuts. But don’t take our word for it; in the words of Delta Spirit: “If you’re feeling what I’m feeling come on, all you soul searching people come on.”

Delta Spirit plays at 8 p.m. Friday on the Poseidon Stage.

Gogol Bordello

Gogol Bordello has been breaking down musical barriers since 1999 with a supercharged music based on a brutal gypsy two-step rhythm that sounds like an Eastern European cousin of ska, augmented by punk, metal, rap, flamenco, roots reggae, Italian spaghetti, Western twang, dub and other sounds generated by gypsies and rebels from across the globe.

“Reggae and gypsy music were created by poor people with nothing to lose,” Eugene Hutz, Gogol bandleader and agent provocateur, explains. “They had to find a new way to look at the world.”

Gogol Bordello’s philosophy is simple and pragmatic. Music makes it possible to make the contradictions of life sound harmonious, at least for the duration of a song. Their trans-global rebel rock is based on the belief that music and art can transform negative energy to positive and inspire individual action.

Hutz says. “I saw a painting in Tuscany of a woman in convulsions and guy playing a violin. He’s leaning over her, playing music to cure her hysteria, put her into a trance and exorcize her demons. It was sexual, mystical and cultural, almost obscene — all the qualities of Gogol Bordello. It was another musical way of transforming negative energy into positive. Our musical awareness isn’t based on flirtatious moments of musical fusion; we’re constantly adding new stuff that compliments are root — the gypsy music from the Carpathian Mountains of Ukraine.”

Since dropping “Gypsy Punks” in 2005, Gogol Bordello has been circling the globe igniting the international community with their frenzied brand of anarchic mayhem.

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