To Thread - Forum Home

The Mudcat Café TM
31 messages

Got good Polkas??

21 Jul 99 - 08:44 AM (#97617)
Subject: Got good Polkas??
From: harpgirl

...fadac mentioned he likes polkas a while back...DoneyGals enjoy playing them as well...anyone got any interesting ones? What is their origin anyway? Joseph, you must know some (being from Wisconsin and all). I would like to play polkas with fadac before I cross over...harp

21 Jul 99 - 10:53 AM (#97656)
Subject: RE: Got good Polkas??
From: Fadac

Well Beer Barrel Polka, is a clich' on the accordion. However that dosn't stop it from being a real toe tapper. Did you know that the Can Can is a polka? I didn't untill I ran into it in my accordion book. Also Morris dancers use polkas a lot. (as well as single steps.) How about Scotland the Brave, to a polka beat?


22 Jul 99 - 08:40 AM (#97954)
Subject: RE: Got good Polkas??
From: hank

Well, my granpa always has pokas on the radio, and it doesn't have a casette or anything, so there must be an all-polka, all the time station in MN. Can't reach it where I live. Leaves me to belive that there are also a large number of polkas and polka bands, so that the listeners don't get bored. Besides they are often touting some new record of some local band.

22 Jul 99 - 09:57 AM (#97983)
Subject: RE: Got good Polkas??
From: harpgirl

Fadac, We play Spanish Lady and Port Lairge (The Rose Tree). I also know John Ryan's and Jenny Lind. Anyone have any sites for polka music? The Can Can is a polka huh? harpgirl

hank, I wonder if I can find that station on the net?

22 Jul 99 - 02:42 PM (#98097)
Subject: RE: Got good Polkas??
From: Anders Svensson

Hi Harpgirl. My name is Anders and i´m from Sweden. I know some polkas on the tinwhistle,mostly polkas in minor (Irish) and if you know how to handle tunes in abc format then I can give you a lot of them!!

Please mail me or post here if you are intrested.



22 Jul 99 - 05:19 PM (#98186)
Subject: RE: Got good Polkas??
From: Joe Offer

Ah, polkas! I 'll have to think about that. Even the punk bands in southeast Wisconsin do polkas. How can you get wedding gigs if you don't do polkas? One band that is quite close to my family is the Violent Femmes - yes, they do polkas. They're also in their late 40's and early 50's and my balding brothers hang out with them, but don't tell the kids how old they are.
-Joe Offer-

23 Jul 99 - 01:50 AM (#98371)
Subject: RE: Got good Polkas??
From: Rick Fielding

All I know about polkas is that I found a polka website and asked them one question about tempos. They put my name on every Polka Record Company's mailing list and I've been swamped with Polka advertising for a year and a half. If I have any more questions, I'll ask them at Mudcat!

23 Jul 99 - 02:49 AM (#98376)
Subject: RE: Got good Polkas??
From: Joe Offer

Say, Rick, head to, of course!
-Joe Offer-

23 Jul 99 - 03:06 AM (#98378)
Subject: RE: Got good Polkas??
From: Sourdough

A long time ago, I had a roommate who went on to become keyboard player for Frank Zappa during the glory days of The Mothers of Invention. He had studied music with Paul Hindemith and with Bill Evans giving him an unusual and ecelctic background. He used to enjoy singing motets, too, but what surprised a lot of people was that he loved to play polkas, relentlessly improvising on the piano or alto sax.

I don't remember who said that there are only two kinds of music, good and bad, but I think this was one guy who would have agreed enthusiastically.

23 Jul 99 - 04:23 AM (#98388)
Subject: RE: Got good Polkas??
From: Joe Offer

I like Yankovic, but I have to say that Jimmy Sturr is the best polka musician around. He puts an interesting twist to his music. Gee, he's won the Polka Grammy for, like, 8 or the last 10 years or something. Even got Willie Nelson to guest on one CD.
-Joe Offer-

23 Jul 99 - 03:56 PM (#98581)
Subject: RE: Got good Polkas??
From: MAG (inactive)

There was a Tex-Mex band that did one of the doors' numbers as a polka. I don't remember which song, or the name of the band; it was the kind of thing you heard on Dr. Demento. Good tho'


Anybody wanna dance?

23 Jul 99 - 04:09 PM (#98584)
Subject: RE: Got good Polkas??
From: Helen


Try here for some polkas - and other interesting music.
Accordion Man International

Helen P.S. there's no point making accordion jokes at me because I don't play one, so don't waste your cyber-breath *BG*

23 Jul 99 - 05:59 PM (#98615)
Subject: RE: Got good Polkas??
From: Adrian, Fokus Band, Kent, England

We're a traditional English Ceildh and play mostly in freezing cold barns in Kent. We have a number of favourite polkas including Maggie and Salmon Tails, Jenny Lind and Grandad, Bobby Shafto and Keep that Wheel a Turning and Egan with John Ryan. There is however a book of tunes from the Central Masif in France which has hundreds of realy lively polkas and we often play a pair called Polka 111 and Bourree de Neris. The first tune gets people going but when we go into the second tune it really lifts the dancers into the 'X-factor' zone! My computer is at work so I can't at the moment leave more details.

23 Jul 99 - 06:10 PM (#98618)
Subject: RE: Got good Polkas??
From: Cap't Bob

We don't play many polkas, however we do play "Johnny I do miss you" and "Sullivans polka" as a short medley. These are both Irish polkas.

Cap't Bob

23 Jul 99 - 07:02 PM (#98639)
Subject: RE: Got good Polkas??
From: Shack

"Viva L'Amour" is a real good polka. I think the Kingston Trio might have recorded it once. "Let every good fellow not join in a song (viva la compagnie)/We'll drink to each other while memories throng (viva la compagnie)/Viva la viva la viva l'amour/ viva la viva la viva l'amour/ Viva l'amour, viva l'amour, viva la compagnie." (Yeah, get down!)

23 Jul 99 - 10:56 PM (#98712)
Subject: RE: Got good Polkas??
From: CarlZen

For an unusual liastening experience, try Brave Combo. They were a polka band. They are a polka band. But they play the twist, jimi hendrix, hava na gelah (sp?) etc. on their electric guitars and accordians. It has to be heard to be believed. I doubt if mudcatters would be disappointed.

If there are any good Spanish language radio stations where you live, and if they cater to the local Mexican population, the popular Mexican music is filled with polkas.

I've been noodling around with a few polkas on fingerstyle guitar for years, trying to get something down.

And, I believe Duke Ellington was credited with the "teo kinds of music" quote, although that may be as much modern folklore as actual quote. Like all good folklore, the truth of its meaning carries it irregardless of accurate details.

29 Sep 01 - 12:19 AM (#561191)
Subject: RE: Got good Polkas??
From: Genie

Anyone have the words to "Too Fat Polka" or "Lichtensteiner Polka?"

29 Sep 01 - 02:50 AM (#561229)
Subject: RE: Got good Polkas??
From: M.Ted

My favorite Polka to play is the Jessie Polka--also Doudelebska Polka, but have neither midi nor abc of either of them--the Polka originated in Bohemia in the last century, and became popular everywhere--Tex-Mex Music is, for my money, about the best Polka Music around(I am truly sorry to say this, but Irish Polkas don't really have that magic feel to them) --Czech immigrants bought the music with them to Texas in around the turn of the last century--Any of you remember Adolph Hofner? Loved his combination Western Swing and Polka sound--

29 Sep 01 - 10:34 AM (#561358)
Subject: RE: Got good Polkas??
From: Sorcha

Polkas at JC's place........

29 Sep 01 - 01:56 PM (#561431)
Subject: RE: Got good Polkas??
From: SharonA

Don't forget the Pennsylvania Polka! (They don't just do it in Wisconsin, y'know!) There's also a parody of it that I wrote for the Mudcat "Song Challenge! - part 44": The Pennsylvania Porker.

29 Sep 01 - 02:40 PM (#561444)
Subject: RE: Got good Polkas??
From: GUEST,Vintage Martin

Here's the link to the Pig Polka. (I hope the clicky works.) Click here

29 Sep 01 - 06:46 PM (#561547)
Subject: RE: Got good Polkas??
From: Cantrip

Liz Carroll has a couple of absolute smashers on her first solo album. If you can't get the record, I could ABC them for you. They're worth it.

29 Sep 01 - 11:18 PM (#561696)
Subject: RE: Got good Polkas??
From: Bob Bolton


I have to agree with M.Ted - what the Irish call polkas are often quite nice single reels - but polkas they aint! The polka has all sorts of internal rhythms - different polks, like 'Kreutz polkas' &c each have their specific characteristics and this is what adds that 'magic'.

In Australia, we play a lot of the tunes that the Irish call 'polkas' ... but not for polka dances. They are used for a lot of the older line and circle dances but they don't have the 'skip' (more or less the English for the Bohemian word 'pûlka') that makes a polka


Bob Bolton

29 Sep 01 - 11:42 PM (#561709)
Subject: RE: Got good Polkas??
From: Stewie

I'll second the Brave Combo recommendation. Great band. There's a discography and other stuff at this site:

Click Here


29 Sep 01 - 11:47 PM (#561712)
Subject: RE: Got good Polkas??
From: Kaleea

My personal fav (& that of a dearly departed black lab I once had who would dance to this one) is the "No Beer in Heaven" polka.

In Heaven there is no beer, that's why we drink it here, and when we're gone from here, our friends will be drinking all the beer!

Yes, this is a real polka and I even have the accordian music somewhere in my stacks of tunes,

30 Sep 01 - 05:12 AM (#561812)
Subject: RE: Got good Polkas??
From: pavane

You could search the web for abc files, there are many polkas available in that format. Or go to the abc home page and search from there

30 Sep 01 - 12:47 PM (#561942)
Subject: RE: Got good Polkas??
From: masato sakurai

In Heaven There Is No Beer? is used as the title of a Les Blank film. It is "a joyous romp through the dance, food, music, friendship and even religion of the Polka. The energy and bursting spirit of the polka subculture is rendered with both warmth and a dedication to scholarship in this journey through Polish-American celebaration that takes us from New London, Connecticut's Polkabration to the International Polka Association's convention, with a stop along the way for a polka mass in Milwaukee." This very entertaining video is released by Flower Films (FF 1112). There's a book about polka, Victor Greene's Passion for Polka.


01 Oct 01 - 05:14 AM (#562396)
Subject: RE: Got good Polkas??
From: IanC

Somebody asked about origin. This is pretty much the standard story.

Polka is defined as a vivacious couple dance of Bohemian origin in duple time was a basic pattern of hop-step-close-step; a lively Bohemian dance tune in 2/4 time.

The polka was originally a Czech peasant dance, developed in Eastern Bohemia (now part of Czechoslovakia). Bohemian historians believe that the polka was invented by a peasant girl (Anna Slezak, in Labska Tynice in 1834) one Sunday for her amusement. It was composed to a folk song "Strycek Nimra Koupil Simla (Uncle Nimra brought a white horse)." Anna called the step "Madera" because of its quickness and liveliness.

The dance was first introduced into the ballrooms of Prague in 1835. The name of the dance (pulka) is Czech for "half-step", referring to the rapid shift from one foot to the other.

In 1840, Raab, a dancing teach of Prague, danced the polka at the Odéon Theatre in Paris where it was a tremendous success. Parisian dancing teachers seized on the new dance and refined it for their salons and ballrooms. According to Cellarius, the famous French dancing master of the mid-nineteenth century: "What young man is there, although formerly most opposed to dancing, whom the polka has not snatched from his apathy to acquire, willy-nilly, a talent suddenly become indispensable?" Polkamania resulted. Dance academies were swamped and in desperation recruited ballet girls from the Paris Opéra as dancing partners to help teach the polka. This naturally attracted many young men who were interested in things other than dancing, and manners and morals in the dance pavilions deteriorated. Dancing developed a bad name and many parents forbade their daughters dancing with any but close friends of the family.

The polka was introduced in England by the middle of the nineteenth century. However, it did not achieve the popularity it had achieved on the Continent. By this time, it had also reached the United States. Thomas Balch, in his book Philadelphia Assemblies, reports that Breiter's band composed a new polka for the occasion of the 1849 Assembly. It was evident the waltz and polka were gradually replacing the contredanse and cotillion.

from here.


01 Oct 01 - 01:03 PM (#562623)
Subject: RE: Got good Polkas??
From: Ranks

Hi there,

Polkas from Ireland are quite different from German or venen the american.

I agree Joe, Jimmy Sturr is by far the best of any American Polkas Bands. He should have been in Germany two weeks ago but cancelled his tour because of the New york catastrophe. Yankovic was great too, more basic than Sturr. Whoopy John is even more basic. I do like Lenny Gomula and Chicago Push, and Eddy Blazonczyk and the Versatones as well. Brave Combo are great but different.

Try Many free Radio-Shows. On Daily-Shows you should pick The Big Show or John Jeski`s show

In Tex-Mex Music there is obviously Flaco Jimenez. Other Names are Steve Jordan, Tony de La Rosa or Mingo Saldivar.

In Ireland you do not have real polka Bands. But there are plenty of great Polkas

Therefore in England there are a lot of Polka Style Tunes. Old Swan Band, Flowers and Frolics and Gas Mark 5 are the bands to look for.

On the Accordeon Web Ring, there is one page with hand written sheet music. Plenty of good Polkas. Difficult to read though.

If you want to know some Titles: Beer Barrel and Liechtensteiner, Pensylvania are the obvious Polkas as are Apples, Peaches Pumpkin Pie, Who Stole the Kishka, Helena, Julida, In heaven there is bo beer, Too Fat Polka, Peanut polka, Tinkers Polka and many more.

Have fun playing them,


02 Oct 01 - 09:58 AM (#563372)
Subject: RE: Got good Polkas??
From: GUEST,Dave Penny

In Newfoundland (Canada) polkas are called "dance tunes" or "singles." Old tunes are often played with added or missing bars to suit the dances. Often you'll Irish or English tunes played slightly different because the dancers in those days dictated when the accordion or fiddle player would turn over the tune into the next part. The best "real" Newfoundland singles haven't been recorded and they're played (too) seldom.

02 Oct 01 - 06:24 PM (#563741)
Subject: RE: Got good Polkas??
From: Roughyed

I have the best polka in the world. I'm married to her.