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Americas Polka Sweethearts

I’ve been enjoying listening to Chemnitzer concertina music lately and that led me to Wanda and Stephanie, who were a mother-daughter team known as America’s Polka Sweethearts. They were polka performers but in the polka world that is broken down into styles. The style Wanda and Stephanie performed is called Honky. Stephanie still performs today. Her mom Wanda passed back in the 90s.

Here’s Zosia, one of my fave polkas

The Cial Bym Ja Polka

Seven Days and Seven Nights Polka

And finally, here’s Stephanie on her own performing the Wanda Polka.

Wanda was my mom’s name, and also I have a cousin named Wanda. Cousin Wanda, this one’s for you if you’re out there…

A note to readers….
When I set up this post, nothing on YouTube (at least that I saw) told me that embedding was restricted. And so, when you try to watch two of the videos above, you get a “watch on YouTube” message. Just click on the YouTube symbol and you’ll be transported to the YouTube page where you can watch the videos at will.  I’m happy with whatever restrictions the uploaders and YouTube put on any videos on the site. I just wish they would make the intention obvious. In other words, if you don’t want me to embed the video, don’t give me a share link to use.

5 Comments

  1. I have had some technical difficulties and am only recently back on line and able to visit this blog again, a blog on which I have come to depend in matters cultural.

    As you are well aware, and no doubt have commented somewhere, this music is very nearly interchangeable with a great strain of border music down here in Mexico in all except the language. I find that interesting for some reason.

    So now late in life, and with no small thanks to you, I find myself listening to an enormous amount of polka music. That is how pathetic one’s existence can become in its late stages if one does not keep a close eye on one’s self.

    • Curiously enough, both are squarely American music forms (played in Mexico, it’s Norteno after all)….consider two forms of polka music, one sung in Spanish and the other in Polish, both derived from the same European form, both borrowing all sorts of elements from other American form…the same and different all at once. You won’t find anything close to either in Europe.

      I dismissed polka for a long time until I heard the border music (damn that Flaco Jimenez anyway), but more recently I’ve discovered there is some killer polka material from places like Buffalo and Chicago and Cleveland…I suppose from those places that were the industrial heartland of the United States.

      We have polka up here in Canada too, but we’re not nearly so serious about it.

      Glad you’re back Steve. I won’t tell anyone you’re listening to all that polka.

  2. Those are great! They look like they are having such a good times playing those polkas! Great way to get an early start on the weekend.

  3. Wanda Palma

    Thanks Eugene! Yes I’m here and I’m still reading your blog everyday. Never knew there was a Wanda Polka. I’ll have to listen to them at home as I’m at work right now and they block youtube. Unfortunately, I miss out on a lot of your good music.

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