December 01, 2007

I am guessing you read the NYTimes article about the slow demise of Polka in the midwest. I didn't link to it the other day because I never got around to it, but in case you missed it here it is. It is an evocative article.

For the years my family gathered in St. Louis, I used to attend the Polka Festival in St. Louis, held on Thanksgiving weekend. One of my favorite parts about it was that there were three full band stages set up, one each for Slovak, Polish, and Czech bands. They played in turn, and each had their own set of fans (respectively Slovak, Polish, and Czech. Each national group, dressed differently, only danced for the band playing their style of polka. It was wild. I danced to all of them, helped by the ladies in the room who were only too happy to show me how to do it right. I was the youngest person dancing by several decades. I haven't been back in five or so years, I wonder if it is still going on.

Mark Rubin, bass man extraordinaire and a dude with an uncommonly well developed sense of good music in general, has some thoughts about it on his blog.

Chasing the Fat Man: The frighteningly swift end of Traditional Culture

Insert YOUR culture here and pause for a moment. What do we lose when we let go of an unbroken chain like this? Or do we simply get the culture we deserve?

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