2008 Best Music Poll Winners

World Music

Gogol Bordello

If we had our druthers, we’d rather our World Music winners sing in a language other than English, so consider this a special ESL ballot entry. Ukraine-to-Brooklyn transplant Eugene Hütz might sing in English, but his subject is exile, globalization, the immigrant experience. As he likes to sing: “Have you ever been to American wedding? Where is the vodka, where’s the marinated herring?” But his conclusion is about more than homesickness: “Your country raised you/Your country fed you/And just like any other country/it will break you.” Hütz brewed up Gogol Bordello in Brooklyn in the mid-’90s, and he still seems surprised to be here — he’s tickled by America’s contradictions, the abundance and the stinginess. Everything is food, and sex, and booze — but where’s the vodka and the herring? How can a country that invented the Stooges be so fucked up? Working Super Taranta (Side One Dummy), the band came to the Roxy last October with their extravagant stage show — Eastern European party music, big stomping, punked-out polkas with klezmer accents that got the mosh pit pogoing and yelling “Hey!” with the band on 2 and 4, Hütz bearded and bare-chested, banging out flamenco-style chords on his acoustic guitar, shout-singing his heavily accented English — Iggy Pop as Rasputin.

— Jon Garelick

1. Youssou N’Dour
2. Anoushka Shankar
3. Antibalas

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