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The Duhks, a Tough Band to Pigeonhole

Fiddler Tania Elizabeth, left, and singer Jessica Havey, during The Duhks' performance at NPR.
Julia Peck, NPR
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Fiddler Tania Elizabeth, left, and singer Jessica Havey, during The Duhks' performance at NPR.
Scott Senior, left, on percussion and Leonard Podolak on clawhammer banjo.
Julia Peck, NPR /
/
Scott Senior, left, on percussion and Leonard Podolak on clawhammer banjo.

The Duhks defy easy categorization. Fans and acquaintances have used phrases like "Blue Rodeo meets Celtic rock," "progressive soulgrass" and "Destiny's Child meets the Chieftains" to describe the Canadian band.

"I think what we really play is good music, music that we like," says Leonard Podolak, the clawhammer banjo player who put together the band from Winnipeg, Manitoba. "The music comes from all of us... you can't really describe it in a category."

Indeed, The Duhks (pronounced ducks) take Celtic, French Canadian and old-timey music and punch it up with shades of blues and soul and driving Afro-Cuban beats.

Percussionist Scott Senior says the band hopes to broaden folk music: "I think the idea that this band is trying to get across is that folk music is not just a person sitting there singing a song with a guitar. That might have been the root of it, but where folk music can be taken is kind of up to us. It's coming together and showing the people that, yea, we do know where our music comes from, but this is where we're taking it."

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As special correspondent and guest host of NPR's news programs, Melissa Block brings her signature combination of warmth and incisive reporting. Her work over the decades has earned her journalism's highest honors, and has made her one of NPR's most familiar and beloved voices.