Respecting the Polka

Last week my aunt and uncle went on a trip put together by Tady Bear Tours. The Tady Bears are a popular Pittsburgh Polka band led by award-winning drummer and vocalist Jack Tady (left-video).

The definition of Polka music is: “a Czech dance and genre of dance music familiar throughout Europe and the Americas. It originated in the middle of the 19th century in Bohemia, now part of the Czech Republic. Polka remains a popular folk music genre in many European countries, and is performed by folk artists in the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Poland, Croatia, Slovenia, Switzerland, and to a lesser extent in Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Hungary, Italy, Ukraine, Romania, Belarus, Russia, and Slovakia. Local varieties of this dance are also found in the Nordic countries, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Latin America and the United States.”

There is a large population of these ethnicities in Pittsburgh and the Polka has been a staple at local weddings and festivals for years. The Polka gets a bad rap as it is not respected like mainstream traditional music. Perhaps this is due to the simplicity of it. Polka music is usually played in twos. It also takes a discerning ear to appreciate accordions. I have been listening to a lot of Polka music in the last week and I am coming to respect it. In fact, I think it would be a lot of fun to play drums in a Polka band. There is certainly a responsibility to maintain the down beat for people to dance to. You could even work in some four-on-the-floor and buzz roll fills. For more on Jack Tady visit:

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