Warsaw Village Band
Warsaw Village Band formed in Warsawa, Poland in 1997. They describe what they do as ‘Modern music, played by modern people, inspired by tradition for this and future generations’.
Their style is Rootsy, yet experimental, euphoric and haunting. The band have revived many musical traditions that were all but lost in their home country. They play traditional instruments which are rarely heard in modern music; frame drums, the hurdy-gurdy and the suka; a Polish folk fiddle from the 17th century stopped with the fingernails rather than the fingers.
Many of the band’s vocals are sung in a loud and powerful style much like the ‘open-throated’ singing from Bulgaria. Biały głos (white voice) was used by shepherds in the Polish mountains enabling them to be heard over long distances.
The Warsaw Village Band live show features; Dulcimer, Suka, Hurdy Gurdy, Violins and Traditional Vocals, with Horns, Percussion, Double Bass and a Live Dub Mix !
Their 7th album ‘Sun Celebration’ released in 2016 exalted in the spiritual brotherhood which crosses religious & ethnic boundaries and which the band have experienced on their travels. It presents universal stories told through the oldest Polish folk songs. All this happens in the unique ‘Transminimal-roots’ style of Warsaw Village Band, but on a completely new scale. The album features guests from various musical worlds, including; Mercedes Peón, an avant garde vocalist from Spanish Galicia, Iranian Kemanche genius Kayhan Kalhor and Indian Sarangi virtuoso, Ustad Liaquat Ali Khan.
Their 2018 album ‘Mazovian Roots Re:Action’ was awarded a Polish Grammy, in the Best Roots Music category and reached Number 4 in the World Music Charts Europe. The release is a symbolic return to the band’s musical origins and illustrates the pure joy of working with, and learning from, the last remaining Mazovian traditional singers.
In November 2020 Warsaw Village Band released their new album ‘Waterduction’. Once again they explore Mazovia, but this time they left the land behind and got carried away by the river’s current. They were inspired not only by the River Vistula itself but also by Urzecze, an ethnographic microregion close to Warsaw, which has allowed them to explore new cultures.
‘The river with its tributaries is like part of the bloodstream, a respite from the modern city. We wanted to capture it in music’ says Sylwia Świątkowska.
‘That is Warsaw Village Band ‘LuLuLabby’, the freshest and best thing that’s hit my ears in a long while…So hats off to the amazing, beautiful energy and precision and fresh delivery of WVB. I have no possible disagreement with a lady or group of ladies who can open their mouths and sing like that.”
Traditional Polish songs, with their cutting vocals and meshed fiddles are the foundation of Warsaw Village Band’s repertory. But while their lineup is primarily acoustic – hand drums, hammered dilcimer, violins, cello – their sensibilities are modern. They hear dance -club drive and trancey echoes in the songs and they use recording studio techniques to heighten the central drones and eerie percussive sounds in their songs
Global experimentation, Polish-style. Warsaw Village Band are one of the most inventive folk groups in Europe, with an edgy, driving style in which the harsh-edged female-harmony vocals of Magdalena Sobczak-Kotnarowska and Sylwia Świątkowska are matched against violins, percussion, dulcimer and brass… An inventive and often thrilling exercise in breaking down musical borders.
‘Uncompromising in their insistence on mixing sounds from a diverse array of traditions, these thirteen mesmerising tracks are sewn together by the common thread of sky worship and, like the mystical solar cults this album celebrates, the music pulsates with mystery, passion and otherworldliness.’