Four years ago, when Warsaw Village Band released Uprooting, it seemed they would be the first Polish roots musicians to make a major impact in the west. Now, following an unnecessary remix version during singer and cellist Maja Kleszcz's maternity leave, they return with a new album that confirms them as one of the Europe's most intriguing, adventurous bands. The starting point is still the vocal work of Kleszcz and the driving, spine-tingling harmonies of two other young singers, Magdalena Sobczak-Kotnarowska and Sylwia Swiatkowska, on dulcimer and violin. Three male band members add violin and hand drums. The group mix cello and violin with constantly shifting rhythms and influences that range from dance songs to pared-down acoustic funk; scratching effects match the squeaky violins. There's a sturdy, string-backed Polish blues, some African-influenced chanting, and even a drifting Polish-Indian raga featuring dulcimer and an ancient fiddle, the suka. It's a bravely confident collision of styles, and it works.
Robin Denselow is a journalist and broadcaster who specialises in music and politics. He is the author of When The Music's Over, a history of political pop