Saturday, September 05, 2009

Polkas Everywhere!

Well, perhaps not quite.

I've often thought, when tuning the radio or listening to the next-door gardener's portable radio, that Mexican music can sound an awful lot like Eastern European music. Accordians, polka rhythm.

Santa Fe is ushering in its 400th anniversary this weekend, and part of the festivities are in a park down the hill from my house. I just went down there to see what they've got. There was some Mexican dancing (we were part of Mexico in 1610) and a band playing John Philip Sousa's Washington Post March. (Why the Washington Post? Why not other newspapers?)

The first Mexican piece was one of those polka-y things. Three little girls with swingy skirts dancing. And there was the step: heel and toe and step, step, step! I stuck around for another dance: two women in a modified hat dance, with changes in style and rhythm. And there it was again!

So why is the polka so widespread in Europe? And where did it originate?

1 comment:

Dan said...

Much Mexican music that sounds polka-y is just that. German and Czech settlers in Northern Mexico and Texas had a huge influence on the music. There's an excellent book about it put out by UT Press:,"The Texas-Mexican Conjunto", Pena, Manuel H. (http://www.utexas.edu/utpress/books/pencon.html) Leave it to a transplanted Texan to insert references to his state into your New Mexican celebrations!