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The Warsaw Village Band Inspires Fans, But Some Polish Immigrants Turn a Deaf Ear

The Warsaw Village Band - Photo: Kayax

The Warsaw Village Band. (Photo: Kayax)

Can traditional Polish music sound funky? Or Asian? Or bluesy? The members of the Warsaw Village Band think it can. When the six-piece band was founded 12 years ago, its young members visited Polish villages to gather vanishing songs from elderly musicians. Later these melodies became the inspiration for a new modern and eclectic style of music.

Today the Warsaw Village Band has fans all over the world. They call themselves barbarians playing hardcore folk. Recently the American magazine PopMatters named the band’s latest CD “Infinity” the top World Music album for 2009.

The Warsaw Village Band - Photos: Kayax

But while American audiences welcome the band’s innovative ideas, New York’s Polish immigrant community has had a mixed reaction.

Young Poles are enthusiastic, but older immigrants are skeptical, seeing the Warsaw Village Band’s innovative mix of styles as a blow to traditional Polish folk music.

Feet in Two Worlds and Polish Daily News reporter Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska recently produced an audio portrait of the Warsaw Village Band.  Click “play” below to hear her story.

[audio:http://feet2worlds.centernyc.org/fi2w_ewa_wvb-1.mp3]

The Warsaw Village Band - Photo: Kayax.

AboutFeet in Two Worlds
Feet in Two Worlds brings the work of immigrant and ethnic media journalists from communities across the U.S. to public radio and the web. Since 2005, this award-winning project has expanded the diversity of voices and stories on public radio by presenting the work of journalists representing a broad spectrum of immigrant communities including Arab, Bosnian, Brazilian, Chinese, Haitian, Indian, Irish, Latin American, Pakistani, Polish, and Russian immigrants. Feet in Two Worlds reporters appear on nationally-distributed public radio programs including PRI’s The World, Studio 360, and The Takeaway, American Public Media’s Marketplace and NPR’s Latino USA, as well as on public radio stations WNYC, New York Public Radio, and WDET in Detroit.