Canadian Polka Showdown

Today’s Toronto Star has a feature on saxophonist John Gora and accordionist Walter Ostanek, the two Canadian artists nominated for Best Polka Album at this year’s Grammys. The article plays up the good-natured rivalry between the pair — Gora has been nominated four times but never won, Ostanek has been nominated 20 times and won three times — but also suggests that polka won’t be part of the Grammys much longer. According to Ostanek:

“Everyone in the polka business is wondering how long (the Grammy polka category) can last… Polka will never die, but no one makes a living at it. It’s music you play for the love of it. It’s for parties and good times, and it will always have a place in people’s lives. But it’s for weekend warriors now.”

While it’d be sad to see the category go — and I don’t think it will; the Grammys seem more preoccupied with adding rather than removing categories at this point — I agree that polka will survive just fine without it. As long as there are parties, beer, and accordions in close proximity, there will be polkas.

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