Fascinating facts about polka music
Czech roots -
Popular today across various cultures, polka originated in 19th-century Bohemia, now part of the Czech Republic.
Origin story -
Polka's origin story first appeared in the periodical 'Bohemia' in 1844.
A continental hit -
Characterized by its high energy and lively steps, it became a hit in Europe after a Prague dance instructor performed the polka in Paris.
From the countryside to the ballrooms - After spreading across the region, polka music, and dancing, made its way to the elite. By 1835, people danced polka in the ballrooms of Prague.
There are two theories about the origin of the word "polka." Some believe that it's derived from the Czech word Polka, meaning "Polish woman."
Another theory -
Others believe that polka may come from the Czech word půlka, which means "half." It refers both to the half-tempo and the half-jump step of the dance.
The Polish believe in a different story - Many Poles claim that polka was actually created in a Polish village, and later popularized when a Czech individual passed by and saw the dance.
The sound of polka -
Polka is known for the distinctive sound of the accordion, which acts as the foundation of the music. Basically, it's the star of polka music.
However, polka bands can also include fiddles, clarinets, trombones, tubas, and a rhythm section, depending on the region.
Polka dance -
Apart from the characteristic music, polka is also a distinctive couple dance, which combines three rapid steps and a hop.
'Beer Barrel Polka' -
The song 'Beer Barrel Polka' achieved worldwide popularity during World War II.
Polka styles -
Besides the original Czech polka, there are many different styles that developed across the world.
Polka in South America -
Polka became very popular in South America as well, especially in the Peruvian capital of Lima and in southeastern Argentina.
Scandinavian polka -
Polka also migrated to the Nordic countries, where the beats became less heavy when compared to those from Central Europe
Jazzy polka -
The highly energetic style spread even more with the introduction of jazz, ragtime, and other fresh dances of the time.
Dutchmen style -
Including a tuba and a banjo, this style has roots in the American Midwest. It also produces the famous "oom-pah" sound.
Polka Music Month is born -
To promote polka, musicians in Chicago organized the first ever Polka Music Month in 1968.
Polka party -
Although it seems like a relatively simple style, one thing is for sure: when there's polka involved, celebrations reach ultimate levels!