I’ve been teaching my button accordion student a little polka called the Bertha Polka and I wanted him to get a feel for some of the different approaches to attacking a polka, so we took a few minutes to surf around YouTube listening to some examples. We came across this delightful video that includes a brief interview with Walt Solek, known as the Clown Prince of Polka – and his big tune, Who Stole the Kishka. Kishka (there seem to be several spellings) refers to a kind of sausage and in fact the word is Slavic and means gut or intestine, and sausage is just a filling or stuffing in a casing made from intestine.
You can have my shinka
Take my sweet krusczyki
Take my plump pierogi
You can even have my chernika
Take my long kielbasa
But damn it all, bring back my keeshka.
Walt Solek was a popular performer and bandleader who mixed comedy and polka music. He died in 2005 at 94. His motto was “bringing people together through music.”
I think I’m going to go out and get some sausage.