The Warsaw Village Band has revived traditional Polish roots music bringing forth the soul of Poland. It is expressed with mesmerizing music, hypnotic rhythms, and haunting vocals. The violin music has an earthy appealing sound ...the drum beats resemble the beating heart of the country. Track #1 "To You Kasiuna" begins with a cimbalom solo that is highly interpretive and exciting. Next the hypnotic drum beat captures the primordial instincts of the listener - while unique vocal chants bring forth echoes from the past. It makes the listener feel they are participating in a dream, a film that captures life in the village at the turn of the century. Only you are awake and fully aware it is ... a dream. There is feeling of reviving a memory ... of what used to be. There is a tremendously effective gypsy brass band sound, played on the trumpet. The hurdy gurdy adds special intonations of a bygone era, while the drum beat brings into the awareness of here and now. Track #2 "Chassidic Dance" has the far off sound of a village band playing a highly appealing melody, including the "squeaky" violin playing technique of an Eastern Europe village musician. This music is nostalgic, haunting, and evocative with its "far off" music from another era. Track #5 "A Red Apple" is ethereal sounding with a beautiful haunting voice of a young female vocalist. This listener would love to know the English translation of this song and learn more about the significance of the red apple ... This CD has powerful appeal due to the unique interpretations and improvisations which the highly talented Warsaw Village Band apply to traditional music. They love the music of their homeland which is evident in this extraordinairily powerful creative musical endeavor. Erika Borsos (bakonyvilla)
People's Spring is a heady concoction, rough-edged and in-your-face, it swirls along spitting and snarling, stoney female harmony vocals are often yelled into the face of the storm of malevolent fiddles, incessant percussion and brass, while dulcimer, hurdy-gurdy and jaw's harp spin in and out songs.
To You Kasiuna opens the album with a long dulcimer intro, to which the band one by one join in, hesitantly at first, drones and percussion, and then trumpet explodes into the scene and the pace quickens and the girls start singing a high-spirited, mesmerising wedding song, the tempo slowing and speeding up, the vocals seemingly out of step with the music, but in the best possible way.
Chassidic Dance is a real delight, as the band whirl us off our feet with a delicious melody and crashing, stamping rhythm.
As songs such as At My Mother's and I Had A Lover play the shadows grow longer and the folk memory of a nation seems to be present over our shoulders. I know that many of the songs concern tales of love and lust but they conjure something more menacing or fantastical in these relentless settings.
One of the album's highlights, A Red Apple creaks slowly into life, moving like a listing log cabin full of memories, cracking and groaning as the temperature outside plummets. The song moves at a funereal pace, while a lone vocalist sings of love and doubt in a standout performance.
As an epilogue, two remixes of key tracks have been added, which take Warsaw Village Band's sound to clubland, perhaps making it marginaly easier on the ear and more danceable, whilst still sounding fierce. These are both entertaining in their way but ultimately not as satisfying excursions as the originals.
I've long been a fan of Scandinavian artists including Garmarna, Hedningarna, Varttina and Mari Boine, with whom Warsaw Village Band share an affinity, conjuring heady, bewitching music. People's Spring seems perhaps a little limited in scope in comparison, and I prefer playing favourite tracks in smaller clusters rather than the album from start to finish, but when the planets are in the right alignment, these songs make for an incredible, raw experience.
After hearing one of their tunes on a youtube bellydance video - I thought I would love this album, however most of the tunes have a scary, eery feeling to them. Not good for easy listening/party vibe/or driving. The music is inventive and unique with a twist of traditional thrown into the mix, but it wasn't for me - and I appreciate folk music. The word which springs to mind when I think of this album is, disturbing. The female vocals are also very screechy, and offputting. I suppose the music is primal and hits a nerve with some people, but too heavy and weird for me!