Warsaw Village Band
These Polish folk renegades bring a punk rock sensibility -- and a fondness for '70s Jamaican dub -- to their less-than-faithful explorations of their native Polish folk. When they aren't trolling villages for ancient songs in danger of disappearing, they're twiddling knobs and meddling with the most arcane instruments they can get their hands on: the ancient Polish fiddle, hurdy-gurdies, dulcimers...you name it, and they've probably tried to play it. They've even brought "white singing," a shouted singing style practiced by shepherds, back into vogue. But their anarchic musical sensibility is rooted as much in theory as play: they proclaim their artistic project to be no less than a radical response to -- and fight against -- the narrow-mindedness of mass culture. They claim to explore "the archaic sounds of our ancestors and our instincts." Sounds good to us. Formed in 1997 from a band of disparate musicians and ethnomusicologists, the group won a BBC Radio 3 award for "Best Newcomer" in 2004.