Eugene Hutz of Gogol Bordello is a master of the English language. Like Cab Calloway, Eugene bends and stretches words to suit his purpose. Sounding ‘foreign’ in English suits Eugene. It strengthens his ‘exotic-but-fluent-English-speaking-safe-East-European-gypsy’ persona.
Here he is relishing the R of purple. What effect is he trying to create? Remember: nobody would guess purple as the final word in the line Start Wearing Purple. He wants to be sure his listeners catch the unusual word first time:
Emphasizing your R in English is unusual. It attracts your audience’s attention. Eugene hooks his listeners with the bait of an ‘exotic’ sounding R. First he forms a standard English vowel sound in purple. When he follows the ordinary vowel sound with an unusual R, his audience pays extra attention. As he knows they will. His strong R is decorative embroidery. It’s a conscious choice.
Just like Laura Marling, Eugene Hutz interprets English letters to suit his songwriting. It works for her and it works for him.
Each letter in English is a pigment in your sound palette. Use them wisely to paint evocative pictures in your listeners’ minds.
© Sing Better English, 2014