I’ve been loving Beirut’s Gulag Orkestar ever since Kelly and Gavin sent it for my birthday. I had no idea that lead singer Zach Condon was just 20 years old — or that he dropped out of school to bum around Paris, and ended up discovering the wonders of Gypsy music.
This seems like as good a time as any to recommend yet again Fernanda Eberstadt’s fantastic book about Gypsy music and culture in France, Little Money Street: In Search of Gypsies and Their Music in the South of France, especially to those who may be listening to Beirut and intrigued by their influences. I’m not surprised at all that someone’s bringing back the influence of the great (often short-lived, often very young) Gypsy bands to the indie rock scene; I can’t believe it hasn’t happened sooner. I found myself drooling at Eberstadt’s descriptions of the tapes of live shows everyone trades in Perpignan. Let’s just hope the focus on Beirut leads to greater availability of bootlegs of some real Gypsy music.
p.s. Today’s earworm, however, is "Weekends Away" by the Math & Physics Club.