Warsaw Village Band
|Warsaw Village Band
(Kapela ze wsi Warszawa)
The band at a concert in Bremen in October 2010
|Genres||Polish folk music with modern elements|
About the band
According to the band's creative manifesto, it was formed as a response to mass culture and narrow-mindedness, "which in fact leads to [the] destruction of human dignity." Indeed, after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the expansion of the European Union to most of the former Warsaw Pact countries, Poland's economy has grown dramatically, while at the same time ushering in investment by a number of multinational corporations, leading to concerns of globalism and loss of Poland's cultural identity.
Warsaw Village Band was intended to be a response to this trend by exploring Poland's musical traditions and making them relevant to its new capitalist economy. Member Wojciech Krzak has stated that "after the nightmare of Communism, we still have to fight for our identity, and we know that beauty and identity are still in our roots." Krzak has further stated that the band are "trying to create a new cultural proposition for the youth in an alternative way to contemporary show-biz." The band's very name appears to evoke what troubles Krzak about Poland's new capitalism: many large Polish cities do not have suburbs in the traditional sense, leading to unsettling transitions directly from city to field. To this end, in their most recent release, Wykorzenienie (Uprooting), the band traveled throughout Poland to find and record older musicians who still played almost-forgotten styles of music, thereafter incorporating those melodies into new songs and expounding upon them.
The band also incorporate socially conscious folk lyrics in their songs. The song "Kto się żeni" ("Who is Getting Married") on their second album, Wiosna Ludu (People's Spring), discusses a young country girl who refuses to be married off, opting instead to "sing, dance, and be free rather than being dependent on someone."
Warsaw Village Band have appeared at several international music festivals, including the 2005 Roskilde Festival in Denmark, the 2004 Masala Festival in Hanover, Germany, and the 2000 International Ethnic Music Fest in Germany.
Notably, Warsaw Village Band have revived several musical traditions that were all but lost in Poland. The band use instruments 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, similar to the Bulgarian gadulka, the sarangi, or the rebec. The suka was practically unknown to the Polish people until member Sylwia Świątkowska began to play it in the band's concerts, and, later, on their albums. Additionally, many of the band's vocals are sung in a loud and powerful style remarkably like the "open-throated" singing styles in Bulgarian music, called biały głos (white voice). This style of singing was used by shepherds in the Polish mountains to be heard for long distances.
Warsaw Village Band have also used modern elements in their music. Wykorzenienie contains scratching by the Polish hip hop artist DJ Feel-X, most likely as a nod to the phenomenal popularity of hip hop in Poland. The same album also includes electronic siren sound effects by the band's sound engineer, Mario "Activator" Dziurex, leading to a peculiar juxtaposition of new sounds upon old melodies.
- Hop Sa Sa (released in US and UK as Kapela ze wsi Warszawa) - 1998
- Wiosna Ludu (People's Spring) - 2002
- Wykorzenienie (Uprooting) - 2004
- Wymiksowanie (Upmixing) - 2008
- Infinity - 2008
- Nord - 2012
Warsaw Village Band were nominated for the "Newcomer" award in the BBC Radio 3 World Music Awards in 2003, and won it in 2004. The band also won the Polish musical competition "New Traditions" in 1998. 2005 - "Fryderyk" - the best Polish Folk album of the year "Uprooting".
- Warsaw Village Band, Warsaw Village Band: About us.
- British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC3 2004 World Music Awards: Best Newcomer, March 9, 2004.
- Global Village Idiot, Warsaw Village Band.
- Richard Byrne, Warsaw Village Band. The Globalist, April 3, 2004.
- World Music Central, Warsaw Village Band.
- Rock Paper Scissors, The Shepherd Screams and Ancient Polish Fiddles of the Warsaw Village Band.
- British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC3 2004 World Music Awards.
- British Broadcasting Corporation, World Review – Warsaw Village Band, Uprooting.
- Rock Paper Scissors, Warsaw Village Band, Uprooting (World Village).
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