Friday, June 05, 2009

Sad Day for Polka Kings

It was announced yesterday that the Grammy Awards were dropping the polka category.

In a statement, the academy said polka was scrapped to "ensure the awards process remains representative of the current musical landscape."

Regular readers of this blog know that I'm not big on awards shows. I typically don't watch any of the televised shows like the Grammy's or Oscars or what-have-you. Still, I can't help but feel sad that they have eliminated a traditional music category. I suppose the Cajun/Zydeco category will be next.

Polka has had a good run. It first appeared in the 1830s and spread across Europe. There was a time not so very long ago when North American polka music enjoyed tremendous popularity in the cities of America's industrial heartland. Things change.
There are still isolated pockets of polka popularity. When we were down in San Antonio for the International Accordion Festival in 2007, we saw people of all ages polka dancing to Santiago Jimenez Jr. and Los Texmaniacs.

In my car this morning, I heard a local radio host talk about this. I think he really thought polka was funny because he made a point of saying he wasn't making fun of it. Then he qualified his remarks by saying that polka has to be heard live. Nobody would ever play a polka CD in their car driving down the highway. I pressed the CD button on the car stereo, replacing the radio host with "Texas Polka Party".


Barbara Bruederlin said...

I thought this was an outrage when I heard about it. Okay, I may not listen to much (read any) polka music in the car, but I still want it represented. I want as many genres of music celebrated in the awards as humanly possible.

Those Grammy people are just mad that Walter Ostenak wins every year. They be hatin Canadians.

East Texas Red said...

You know in your heart of hearts that the Grammies have nothing to do with music..Let them go merrily on their way..Accordian players will still be out there squeezing away.

Gardenia said...

Well, I don't know where the decision makers live - apparently in their own little worlds which don't include the broad range of fabulous music - how does one cut any out?

Anonymous said...

You have posted links to some polkas but really, you have neglected the best polka played by what must clearly be the best polka band

sp said...

I thought of you when I saw this on the news. I'm really sorry to see them remove the category.
It's really a shame. What about the Junos? Do they have a category for polka? They should.

mister anchovy said...

Thanks Anonymous. How could I have missed it?

A said...

It is sad, but I'm with Red.

I had to take my polkas underground years ago or risk ostracism by my fellow teens, but I'll be 30 this summer and the tapes are coming OUT!

Off the subject, but just read Michael Ondaatje's In the Skin of a Lion, prequel to The English Patient, and what a fascinating story about the building of Toronto's R.C. Harris Waterworks! Another stop on my eventual pilgrimage to Canada.

mister anchovy said...

A, I guess the R.C Harris Waterworks is the place we just call the Waterworks here. It sits at the east end of Toronto proper, and the area known as The Beach or The Beaches, depending on who you talk to. It is a beautiful bit of architecture in a lovely setting. It's always reminded me of the paintings of Giorgio di Chirico.

Should you ever make it to Toronto, you'll get the full tour.