The 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 band also incorporate modern elements into their music. The 2004 release ‘Wykorzenienie’ (Uprooting) contains scratching by the Polish hip-hop artist DJ Feel-X, Dub sirens and FX brought by the band’s sound engineer, Mario ‘Activator’ Dziurex, creating a juxtaposition of new sounds over old melodies.
Warsaw Village Band signed to German label Jaro Records in 2002 beginning a long lasting and fruitful relationship. They have continued to release their music on Jaro through to the present day. The band’s profile dramatically improved in the UK around this time and in 2004 they won the BBC Radio 3 World Music Award for Best Newcomer.
Their seventh album ‘Sun Celebration’ was released in November 2016. It exalts in the spiritual brotherhood which crosses religious and ethnic boundaries 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. The album was nominated in the Fusion category for a Songlines 2018 Award.
The new Warsaw Village Band album ‘Mazovian Re:action’ was awarded a Fryderyki (Polish Grammy) in the best Roots music category. It 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.
The band celebrated their 20th birthday in 2017. They hosted a great musical party in their home city in November, with Bill Laswell as special guest and this is planned for release as a Live album.
“Global experimentation, Polish-style. Warsaw Village Band are one of the most inventive folk groups in Europe.” – The Guardian
Magda Sobzak – dulcimer (hackbrett), vocals Sylvia Swiatkowska – violin, viola, suka, vocals Ewa Walecka – violin
Pawel Mazurczak – bass
Maciej Szajkowski – percussion
Piotr Glinski – percussion
Miłosz Gawryłkiewicz – trumpet
This is a standing show.