For a band like Denver's DeVotchKa, whose enigmatic sound is rarely articulated fairly in print, live gigs offer a chance to provide at least an intimation to virgin audiences.
Yet by the time DeVotchKa's surging assault of Slavic and Spanish styles -- via cello, trumpet, violin, accordion and raging guitar -- has slapped its listeners upside the head, they're often too startled to push the band into any kind of a label. DeVotchKa front man Nick Urata, the band's only constant since its beginnings in Chicago, summarizes the quartet's melting pot of influences as one nomadic and precarious subculture: "The Gypsy Life."
"The Gypsies influenced so many styles -- from Jewish music to Greek, Spaniards and Eastern Europeans," says Urata, an Italian-American and native New Yorker. "I think our sound is what came out of all that. All those different genres come kind of naturally for us."
DeVotchKa's latest release, Una Volta, the follow-up to their daring and raw 2000 debut SuperMelodrama, keeps the band's burgeoning cult audience grasping for the music's origins while serving up an even crisper sound. While DeVotchKa's pop innovation may leave newbies scratching their heads, it's successfully got the loyalists craving more.
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