Polka – Curse or Cure-all?

polka8.jpg   It’s a simple matter of heaving your weight to one side, in three short steps. 1 – 2 – 3. Then, to the other side. 1 – 2 – 3. Turn slowly through the six total steps. Repeat endlessly.

Small Fry Polka   Ray Henry


Those are the details. The important things about it are music, girls, and beer. The order of these will vary with the circumstances, but isn’t it wonderful to be able to combine the three most important things in life into one brief dance?

Kiss Me, I’m Polish   Eddie Blazonczyk

Cowbell Polka   Spade CooleyThe Three Things

Music – The instrumentation of accompaniment can range from full orchestra to quartets, from tubas to saxophones, from guitars to the almost indispensable accordion. The accordion is a versatile and portable instrument that has the added bonus of being able to supply the bass, the beat, and the melody.

Most scoff at the accordion, but throughout the history of the instrument (and it is a long and distinguished, not to mention, romantic one) there have arisen great artists, such as, Frankie Yankovic, Fat Louie Szykowski, and Babe Wagner – all household names. All it takes is a few notes and you know you’re in for something special.

Girls – In Polka, as in Square Dancing, one (me, I) is put in direct contact with a variety of girls. Excitement is inevitable!

Beer – Beer, is the lubricant, nay, the WD-40, of Polka. It frees the participants of shyness. It facilitates movement. And, it can round off the rough edges of one’s inexperience, one’s lack of coordination, and make each partner essential to the dream. I won’t go so far as to say, it is the blood of romance. That’s gross and inaccurate, but it helps with dry lips.

These three elements combined, have been known to provide comfort, enable excess, and promote needed exercise. Romance aside, Polka is a workout. But, it is one where everyone is smiling and ready for more.

Wsciekla Polka (Wild Polka)


In addition, it can be a poetic expression for sensitive souls. Just take a peek at these Polka titles: The Fireside Polka, Jolly Wife of Mine Polka, Twenty Flowers Polka, The Ponytail Polka, Hoosier Susie Polka, The Mother-in-law Polka, The Strip Polka, and The Okey Dokey Polka.

And, who can forget such favorites as, My Baby’s Got A Nice Dupa , The Night Lil’ Wally Came to Town, and Waukesha, All Praise To Thee!


My Wife, She Got Drunk   Lil’ Wally (Wally Jagiello)

I have many Polka memories, and not just because I’m from Minnesota, a state known for its cultural, intellectual, and musical luminaries. I remember early morning AM radio while driving through endless fields of corn, in sunshine or in blizzard. That wedding reception where my girlfriend and I fell into the closet. The old, white, clapboard community center, standing alone in a forest clearing, up North, and a party just for the hell of it, on a Sunday afternoon.

Neto’s Polka   Conjunto Bernal

Some say there is no beer in heaven. Does that mean, by extension, that there is no Polka, either? No one’s God could be that cold. But, just in case, I’m getting mine in now.


About Ted Ringer

I am a writer, artist, and listener. Great music is everywhere and has no limits. Some of it is well-orchestrated and some is short and sweet. It can spring out of a moment of deep feeling or result from long periods of development. Music is communication, inspiration, and a million other things. This blog wants to share the wealth and keep toes tapping.
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