Warsaw Village Band

Uprooting

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Not since the Pogues and Zap Mama has music this deeply rooted in tradition sounded this crazily postmodern. The Warsaw Village Band plays and sings Polish folk music, using hurdy gurdy, fiddle, frame drum, zither, the occasional trumpet and more; they sing with that wild, reedy, open-throated sound and with modal harmonies that you associate with Balkan choral groups. But on Uprooting their ensemble is augmented by the turntablism of DJ FeelX (who lends elegantly understated layers of sound to "Josef Lipinski" and "When Johnny Went to Fight in the War") as well as contributions by more predictable compatriots Janina and Kazimierz Zdrzalik, the Lipsk Women's Choir and the Marian Pelka Band. Not everything here is

a complete success; "At the Front of the Gates" spends a little bit too long dragging along on a single chord, as does the bizarrely titled (or, more likely, awkwardly translated) "I've Slayed the Rye." But the subtle reggae inflections of "Matthew" are a delightful surprise, and [RoviLink="MC"]"Let's

Play, Musicians!"[/RoviLink] eerily and beautifully evokes medieval chant despite the slightly socialist-realist title. And the xylophone on "When Johnny Went to Fight in the War" lends a touch of Tiki-flavored exotica to the proceedings that nicely upends its general Eastern European ambience. Highly recommended.

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