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WARSAW VILLAGE BAND Uprooting World Village 468036

This exceptionally honest, powerful album of Polish folk-roots music opens a window onto an exciting folk tradition. Recorded over a short time span, it captures the thrill and momentum of Warsaw Village Band's live act. These musicians are young and fiendishly adept at playing their instruments; their sound is raw, energetic, urgent, and VERY convincing - think of Ojos De Brujo, Berrogueto, Martyn Bennett or Oi Va Voi for a roughish comparison. These selections aren't easy - you have to overcome the inner 'tension' they create within you, play them loud to capture their essence. The band has taken traditional Polish folk songs/rural ballads (from their native Sieradz region) and given them a radical overhaul. Their combining of historic 'roots' recordings (scratchy fiddle/voice/accordion samples) with live scratch & dub and acoustic instrumentation is beguiling. They play a sense-ravishing, seductive combination of violins, hurdy gurdy, dulcimer (hammered and plucked), drums of all kinds (frame/baraban/snare), cymbals, xylophone, cello and plock fidel. Their sound is superbly expansive and very passionate.

And then there are those magnificent 'white voices', the specialism of the 3 females in this 6-piece line up - this tradition came from the singing of Polish shepherdesses. There's an uncomfortable 'edge' to their singing at times, the primeval urgency of their voices combined with their techno-acoustic sound (an excellent example being 'In The Forest'). Maja Kleszcz in particular has the most wonderful voice - evidenced by songs such as the spine-tingling 'Lament', 'Grey Owl' or 'Fishie'.

You can't do adequate justice to this CD in words, but I would recommend this band's music to any reader interested in radical treatment of folk song - it's exhilarating and moving, and utterly convincing.

Debbie Koritsas