Types of polka music in U.S. today
Posted to alt.music.polkas by Paul Gifford on 1997/07/22. Reprinted by permission.
The subject line says it all. How many types of polka music are there in the
U.S. today? Here's a list and I welcome comments, criticism, corrections,
etc. Maybe common repertoires should be the main division, rather than
sound or instrumentation.
- Chicago/Polish-American style. 1st trumpet, 2nd trumpet playing harmony,
accordion bellows shake. Blazonczyk, Marion Lush, etc. Does the "East
Coast" style deserve its own classification or is it better to regard it as a
variety of Polish-American (Bernie Witkowski, etc.)? What about string-
based groups, as "Orchestra Polonia," directed by Frank Kurzawa, of Detroit
(1960s)? Same thing for concertina groups? How many current Polish-American
styles are there?
- Cleveland/Slovenian style. Accordion lead, tenor banjo accompaniment.
Frankie Yankovic. Also button boxes.
- Czech. Button accordion lead, tuba. Popular in Nebraska, elsewhere.
- Bohemian. Brass bands, as Romy Gosz in Wisconsin and Baca Kapele in
Fayetteville, Texas. Older style than #3.
- Dutch Hop (Volga German). Piano accordion lead, dulcimer accompaniment,
trombone - popular in Colorado, Nebraska
- Scandinavian style. Piano accordion lead, repertoire includes a lot of
- "Dutchman" style. Brass band, tuba. New Ulm, Minnesota; Whoopee John
Maybe Italian-American music ought to be regarded as another type, not to
mention Norteno music, but that might be stretching it a bit. The Bonetti
Brothers Melody Makers, an Italian band, was marketed as a general polka
band back in the '40s.