Warsaw Village Band


 The much lauded Polish band’s fourth cd is deeply rooted in Polish village music but mixes traditional tunes with fresh, cutting edge compositions.The band manages to incorporate influences as varied as traditional village music, Swedish Polska, African polyrhythm, and Jewish music without ever losing their authenticity.

The Warsaw Village Band’s previous album won them much acclaim in Europe and the US, including a prestigious BBC award. Their new album is a window onto the future of folk music everywhere and should advance their career even further. It has already earned them a nomination to a Frederik Award – the Polish Grammy.

As violinist Wojciech Krzak explains “We are all born in a particular place and time, and shaped by the culture of our ancestors. We live in big cities, seek our place on earth, lose old gods and find new ones, so that later we can hand them down to our children, who are born in a particular place and time, seek their place on earth, lose old gods and find new ones, Ad infinitum. And here is how the idea of “Infinity” came into being – the need to take a dip in tradition, derive from it and create contemporary and modern compositions – to inspire other generations!”

To create this global Polish sound, WVB doesn’t hesitate to extrapolate musical ideas based on historical probabilities. They used Swedish Polskas, originally imitated from Polish music; they indulge in what they call Slavic raga, assuming that the Polish suka is related to the Indian sarangi; they hear echoes of African polyrhythms in Polish drumming. They use Carpathian Mountain singers who claim James Brown as their main influence and give the country’s long marginalized Jewish culture a prominent place.

The result is a rare album which transcends its roots and comes close to achieving true universality. This is 21st century music played by a band of village youths with an innate feel for the global pulse.


Popmatters: best of 2009