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Polish-American Polka Music in Poland


polishmusicfan 1 | 13
5 Dec 2010  #1
I would like to hear from people in Poland about what they think of Polish-American polkas as exemplified by such bands as the following.

Polka Family
Brave Combo
Frankie Yankovic
Lenny Gomulka
Full Circle
Lil Wally
Jimmy Sturr
Happy Louie
Eddie Blazonczyk
Pan Franek
Ampol Aires

This is a list from earlier times to current and represent many different styles.
If they are unfamiliar to you, check them out on Youtube. They have the highest view counts for Polish-American polka bands on some of their videos.

I would also like to know if you've heard any of these on Poland tv or radio stations.
If you've never heard such bands, that would still be good to know.

Finally, have you heard any Poland groups play polkas and if so what were your thoughts.
landora - | 199
5 Dec 2010  #2
Sorry to burst your bubble, but those so called "Polish polkas" have nothing to do with Polish dances or Polish music whatsoever. From what I have seen they sound and look like some terrible version of Irish dances. "Polka" itself is a Czech folk dance.

Polka is not a name of any traditional Polish dance, the best known traditional dances for Poland are:
- mazur
- oberek
- kujawiak
- polonez
- krakowiak

Also, no one listens to such music in Poland.
Chicago Pollock 7 | 504
6 Dec 2010  #3
Sorry to burst your bubble

You ruined his whole day. Next thing he'll find out is that chop suey aint Chinese, tacos and chile ain't mexican and pizza isn't italian.
alexw68
6 Dec 2010  #4
Also, no one listens to such music in Poland.

Not in its original form, perhaps, but ...



Spot on about the polkas, though :)
OP polishmusicfan 1 | 13
6 Dec 2010  #5
Come on people. I have heard hundreds of polkas recorded in Polish by groups from around the Rzeszow area, which last time I checked was a part of Poland, so maybe I'm bursting your bubble.

I know Polish-American polkas originated in the USA by immigrants from Poland.

I'm simply asking if anyone has heard them in Poland and if so, what they thought of them, to which I have landora's response, but I hope to hear from more people.
convex 20 | 3,978
6 Dec 2010  #6
I've never heard Polka played here. I'm sure you could find some Polka groups if you put some effort into it, but I don't know anyone that listens to Polka.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
6 Dec 2010  #7
There is (or once was) a radio programme in Poland called Lato z Radiem which used the Clarinet Polka (known as 'Dziadek' in Polish) as their theme song. Does that show ring a bell to our Polish natives?
Zed - | 195
6 Dec 2010  #8
Yes, Lato z Radiem polka is well known. But otherwise this is hardly a mainstream music in Poland. Normally you do not hear it on the radio or TV unless you take effort and look for it. And moreover... nobody in PL knows american polka bands unless they have lived there and been exposed to the phenomenon.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
6 Dec 2010  #9
There are actually Polish people who listen to and maybe actually enjoy rapcrap, hard as that may be to believe. That proves only one point. If you play something over and over, people get used to it and some may actually come to like it. Even when, as in the case of rapcrap, the product of American Afro slums, when it has absolutely no social, cultural or any other relevance to people in such countries as Poland. So it's really up to the DJs and even more so to their bosses. If they started playing American-style polka numbers, they would at least catch on with a niche audience.
nunczka 8 | 458
6 Dec 2010  #10
LOL! You are wasting your time. they in poland dont have any idea how we play polish American music. Besides you forgot Marion Lush, and Stas Balunda.

youtube.com/watch?v=2Qv9hpu7DDo&feature=related
landora - | 199
7 Dec 2010  #11
"Polka" music doesn't have much to do with Polish music just as well, as I said, it's a Czech dance ;) (not that I listen to rap).

I used to dance "polka" dances - on the concerts of bands such as Beltain or Sailor, so playing their variations on Irish/Sea shanties music. Not very Polish, is it?
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
7 Dec 2010  #12
Polka music is still more Polish than rapcrap. it includes polkas, obereks, kujawiaks, sztajery and krakowiaks. Some Polish words, phrases and concepts also appear. Never heard any rapcrap selection with any Polish references whatsoever. I repeat -- if polka music were played on the radio in Poland, it would gain some popularity. Even despite the Poles' tendency to overcompensate for their peasant-rooted inferiority complex by copycatting what they regard as cool and trendy.
Wroclaw 44 | 5,388
7 Dec 2010  #13
if polka music were played on the radio in Poland, it would gain some popularity.

folks already have their favourite radio stations... for a reason
Maybe 12 | 409
7 Dec 2010  #14
I like some Polish, rap. I also enjoy listening to British Grime music. Rap has in general been produced by the disenchanted youth in run down areas, a music of rebellion. I would like to distinguish between the P-Diddy, Puff Daddy American glam rap consumer rubbish and the rappers from the street. Black music especially rap is and was very important for many young Polish men, they can identify with the messages put forward. I know all the Christian right wing nutters are going to jump on me but who cares. There are lots of talent young rappers coming out of the Polish underground.
convex 20 | 3,978
7 Dec 2010  #15
Never heard any rapcrap selection with any Polish references whatsoever.

If you're talking about rap, there are quite a few Polish rappers.

I repeat -- if polka music were played on the radio in Poland, it would gain some popularity.

Why not play what people want to hear, and what they buy in the stores? Young people apparently don't want to listen to Polka. Come to think of it, I've never heard Polka coming out of any friends car radios...or played at any parties..
delphiandomine 83 | 17,625
7 Dec 2010  #16
Me neither. I was completely unaware of it until I saw some "Polish-Americans" talk about it as if it was popular in Poland, which it clearly isn't.

I repeat -- if polka music were played on the radio in Poland, it would gain some popularity. Even despite the Poles' tendency to overcompensate for their peasant-rooted inferiority compex by copycatting what they regard as cool and trendy.

How nicely you speak about your own kin. No wonder you ran away to America if you were using terms like "peasant-rooted" towards them.

For what it's worth, Polka music would never gain much popularity in Poland. Older people prefer classical music, and younger people see it for what it is - an odd creation of Polacks.
landora - | 199
7 Dec 2010  #17
Polka music is still more Polish than rapcrap.

Neither is particularly Polish, and both are rather crap.

I don't like rap, and I find "polkas" incredibly kitsch - something like an American version of disco-polo. I hope it will not become popular in Poland, I don't want to hear it on the radio!

P.S. My city is quite famous for its rapers - for example Peja (not that I see rap as any worthwile kind of music).
mafketis 20 | 7,159
7 Dec 2010  #18
That's a pretty serious accusation you just made there. Who are you alleging that he raped?

added: I was kind of disappointed in music in Poland. I thought that the country might be in touch with its roots (which do include polkas, they may have started in Czech but spread over many countries (and through Czech and German immigrants it even made it to Mexico where it still thrives). It's one of the major kinds of dance music in the last 200 years. But no such luck.

Here's a fresh, creative take on the polka from non-Czechs in Finnland.

youtube.com/watch?v=NgrGRcjyzVw

more creative polka from the hipsters of Brave Combo

youtube.com/watch?v=XcQsLhmm3_c
OP polishmusicfan 1 | 13
7 Dec 2010  #19
Now I'm seeing some of the responses that I was hoping to get (except for the rap part).

Since I'm a new member, the site will not allow me to embed or post links to certain Youtube videos that I would very much like to share here, until I get to a certain number of "useful" posts, whatever that means?

So I'll keep posting like this until that magic moment happens.
landora - | 199
7 Dec 2010  #20
That's a pretty serious accusation you just made there. Who are you alleging that he raped?

:D My ears, for a start :P
OP polishmusicfan 1 | 13
7 Dec 2010  #21
It seems I'm now allowed to show Youtube links and I see people here embed those videos. I've never done that before so here's my first attempt.

Here is Hej Sokoly as a polka, done Polish-American style.
I know this song has Ukrainian heritage but I chose this one because I assume most people in Poland have heard this song in a different style so it will allow a more direct comparison.



Any reaction at all to Hej Sokoly as a polka?
Softsong 5 | 495
12 Dec 2010  #22
Congratulations, the link works very well! That was probably a good choice of song, too.
I am an American, so cannot make a valid comment from the Polish standpoint.

Awhile back, I looked up the origin of the Polka and like some of the other posters have said, it is not a Polish dance. Except that the craze swept the world around the time that a lot of Polish people emigrated to America. They passed it down as Polish, and so it seems a Polish thing to us in America.

But in Poland, the craze came and went and no one passed it down. They were in their own country and things changed in the same way that American music changed. So contemporary Poles as far as I can see are not familiar with Polka music to any extent. And the usual reaction as you've seen is that it is not Polish at all.

In the States, whatever was listened to or danced to by an ancestor was cherished as a tradition from the old country. At least this is my understanding.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,625
12 Dec 2010  #23
Here is Hej Sokoly as a polka, done Polish-American style.

Oh my.

The age of the audience is interesting.
landora - | 199
12 Dec 2010  #24
In the States, whatever was listened to or danced to by an ancestor was cherished as a tradition from the old country. At least this is my understanding.

Looks like Softsong is absolutely right.

It just amazes me why the Polish Americans are trying to insist that they know better what's Polish and what's not.

Here is Hej Sokoly as a polka, done Polish-American style.

It's a song sung usually by very drunk people by the bonfire. Her singing is not much different from the original drunk version, apart from the pronunciation, which is just awful. In general, ouch.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
12 Dec 2010  #25
Repetition is the answer. Even wailing Arab music if played over and over would capture at least a niche audience. Rap is the ultimate proof. Even something so odious and culturally alien as rap can win fans simply through heavy MTV promotion and Polish DJ copycatting. If played with similar repetitiveness, the Polonian polka would also win followers in today's Poland.
nunczka 8 | 458
12 Dec 2010  #26
LOL! You are wasting your time. they in Poland dont have any idea how we play polish American music. Besides you forgot Marion Lush, and Stas Balunda.

LOL! I tried to prepare you as to what reaction you might get. Poland today is not the country that your parents described. We polish American live in a time bubble. We remember only what we were taught as kids from our (IMMIGRANT PEASANT PARENTS).. i say this with pride, for I have no regret that they were poor.. Thats why the left Poland. Modern day Poles couldn't make a pimple on our parents arsses.

Todays Poland is contaminated with Brits. So take that for what it is worth.(SIC) . They ***** about Poles invading England, but they do the same thing.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,625
12 Dec 2010  #27
If played with simialar repetiveness, the Polonian polka would also win followers in today's Poland.

Sure. But no-one wants to play it.

Todays Poland is contiminated with Brits.

What, 800 or so according to the statistics?
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
12 Dec 2010  #28
Nor is Poland a run-down, rat-infested Afro-American slum where the drug dealer is the coveted role model and most kids don't know who their father was. And yet, Afro-American-rooted rap crap not only has a following but even native copy-catters in Poland. All of which shows what reptition can do.
convex 20 | 3,978
12 Dec 2010  #29
If you're going to try to forcefully indoctrinate people, why not do it with the folk groups that already exist in Poland. Lots of talented groups, wouldn't have tom import foreign music. I like Polish folk music a lot, I dislike polka past the novelty of a couple of songs. It just turns in ker-thunk music...hey, like ska!
OP polishmusicfan 1 | 13
12 Dec 2010  #30
Wow, someone feels I'm trying to "forcefully indoctrinate people".
Where does that come from?

We enjoy this style of music in America and because it is sung in the Polish language (and not because it is any way native to Poland) I wanted to know what folks in Poland thought about it, especially if they hadn't heard one in a very long time or not at all.

I've got my answer.
Thanks to all who replied.


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