Warsaw Village Band, Eastern Blok | Maurer Hall, Old Town School of Folk Music | International | Chicago Reader
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Warsaw Village Band, Eastern Blok 

When: Sat., Oct. 31, 7 p.m. 2009
Price: $22, $20 members, $18 seniors and kids
On their latest and best album, Infinity (Barbes), the WARSAW VILLAGE BAND bring the energy of modern pop to music that predates rock ’n’ roll by centuries. They adapt traditional folk songs from Poland’s distant past, material that was once suppressed by the communist leadership, couching them in a vigorous interplay of riffs and counterriffs rendered by rich, slashing strings—cello, viola, violin—and the glassy rat-a-tat of a hammer dulcimer. Cellist and front woman Maja Kleszcz often sings the eerie, magnetic melodies together with dulcimer player Magdalena Sobczak, and in combination their voices can be ethereal or piercing or both at once—Kleszcz counts among her influences the laserlike, vibratoless tones of the bialy glos style. Several songs are predicated on possible historical connections between Polish traditions and instruments and those from Sweden, the Middle East, and even India, and some of the guest players are rooted in equally far-flung contemporary genres—DJ Feel-X, aka Polish MC and producer Sebastian Filiks, drops tasteful turntable scratches into “Skip Funk.” But the band are so assured in their grasp of traditional music that no matter what foreign sounds they ask their songs to accommodate, every element feels like part of the same organic whole. Eastern Blok opens. —Peter Margasak

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