Review: The Warsaw Village Band at Buxton Opera House

Warsaw Village Band played at Buxton Opera House
Warsaw Village Band played at Buxton Opera House

A wild wind from the east swept through Buxton Opera House last night (Thursday) when The Warsaw Village Band performed their only UK concert.

They were running a little late but the wait was well worth it.

The band, one of the most adventurous and exciting groups in Europe, call their unique raw style of music ‘Polish roots music from the ancient to the future’. They have travelled throughout Poland to connect with older musicians who still played almost forgotten styles of music. But the result, while inspired by traditional, is wholly modern.

The group, fronted by the three women, Magdalena Sobczak, vocals and hammered dulcimer, Sylwia Swiatkowska, vocals, violin and Plock fiddle, and Ewa Walecka, vocals and violin, backed by the three men, Piotr Glinski, baraban drum and percussion, Pawel Mazurczak, double bass, and Maciej Szajkowski, Polish frame drum and percussion, have great stage presence, fiercely concentrating on the music.

The thrilling harsh-edged vocals of the female singers, showcasing the open throated singing style, ‘white voice’ (reminiscent of Bulgarian music), meshed with wild violin work, haunting dulcimer and galloping percussion in edgy reworking of folk styles, moved between furiously paced dance pieces and mesmerising trance drones. Joyful, relentless, savage, eerie, elemental.

They sang with passionate conviction and not understanding the language didn’t detract from a rich and memorable experience.

Warsaw Village Band were brilliant.