Something "NEW" in polkas!
Recently I had the privilege of a conversation regarding "new" polkas ... and if there were any favorites from the CD's produced over the past year or so.
In quick order, we qualified that "new" to us DID NOT include covers of pop/rock, country/bluegrass or old country folk tunes (from wherever) ... but actual new original polka compositions.
And while recognizing that we all love some of the great arrangements of covers (dating back to the 60's through to today's best efforts), we all wondered when was the last "ORIGINAL" polka to have any real commercial success/airplay ... and for that matter ... when was the last release from a polka band to feature even a majority of new original polka compositions???
We subsequently reminisced about the days when bands would produce albums featuring the majority of "their" compositions. Inevitably these bands through such developed not only their own indiginous repetoire but as well ... their own distinct "sound" (hmm ... now there's a concept eh!?!?).
Along those lines of thought, we humbly wondered if perhaps while "we" continue to wax poetic upon the semantics of the word "polka" (eg vs. Extreme Push) and the demographic ramifications of such, in actuality ... could the realized wane of polka popularity be instead attributed to the general lack of original artistic creativity in the gendre recently ... and not to a perceived literal stigma or lack of co-ordinated marketing efforts?
While I know how difficult it can be to compose music as well as come up with lyrics which today's public (en masse) can relate to on some level ... however ... can anyone tell me what other musical gendre has survived, thrived and evolved almost upon regurgitations of their past and/or covers of other gendre's efforts?
Simply put ... the foundation of polka was MUSIC and ALWAYS SHOULD BE MUSIC!! Not marketing/promotion ... not entertainment value and not a profitability/commercial factor. And while I fully recognize the importance of these secondary factors to the continued growth of polka music "commercially" ... without an focused and integral infusion of original creativity to broaden the "polka foundation", I sense OUR best efforts otherwise could be in vain.
What's even more perplexing is that while this concept was recognized and embraced by the successful pioneers of our gendre ... why most polka bands today have seemingly chosen to forego such and opt for different approaches?
I have to wonder if our efforts to getting polkas more profile and in demand might start with something as simple as polka bands (regardless of denomination - Chicago/Polish, Cleveland/Slovenian, Eastern, Dutch, German etc.) giving people something consistantly "new" to consume? Naturally not all offerings/creations will be a commercial success but they nonetheless will add to the very strength of our polka fabric. And anyway ... since when has success in polkas just centered around the almighty dollar and profitability? Whatever happened to the concept of musical "artistry"?!?
Well I need to get back to work (to support my polka "hobby"). Thanks for your considerations and I'd love to know if anyone has any thoughts relative to this posting.