Our New Little Squeeze!

Sarah RoseIf things have seemed a little slow around here lately, we (for once) have a good reason. Last Friday night, Anna gave birth to the newest member of the Let’s Polka team — a bouncing baby girl named Sarah Rose. Weighing in at 8 pounds, 14 ounces, she’s everything we dreamed and more. And we’re already planning a trip to the local accordion shops so she can pick out her first box. Gotta start ’em young, I always say.

As you can imagine, our updates (and email response times) will be inconsistent over the coming weeks. In the meantime, if you have any recommendations for soothing accordion music that a baby might enjoy during a feeding or changing, leave us a comment.

Sturr, Simien, Tigres Win Grammys

Okay, I promise this will be the last Grammy post (at least until next year). No big surprises, but here’s a quick rundown of the accordion-related winners from tonight’s ceremony:

  • Best Polka Album: Come Share the Wine by Jimmy Sturr
    Surprise, surprise. This gives Sturr 17 wins in the 23 years that the polka category has existed. Maybe the Grammys need a system like some county fairs I know, where if you win for several years in a row, you’re taken off the ballot and given permanent “hall of fame” status.
  • Best Zydeco or Cajun Album: Live! Worldwide by Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience
    It’s fitting that the person who campaigned for this category’s creation would win its first-ever award. There were a lot of deserving albums nominated, though, and I’m sorry I didn’t finish my Cajun/Zydeco Grammy preview in time. (I’ll explain why very soon!)
  • Best Norteño Album: Detalles Y Emociones by Los Tigres del Norte
    Already recipients of a lifetime achievement award at the Latin Grammys, the Norteño legends collect this particular award for the second year in a row.

Check the full list of winners and let me know if there’s anyone (carrying an accordion) I missed.

Watch the Polka/Zydeco Grammys Online

With so many Grammy categories, it’s no surprise that what you see on TV is only a tiny fraction of the awards presented (usually about 12 out of 110 total). Most awards are given out during a ceremony before the televised show.

This year, for the first time, you can watch those pre-televised awards — including Best Polka Album and Best Cajun/Zydeco Album — live online at Grammy.com. It starts at 1pm Pacific/4pm Eastern today and, while there are a lot of awards to get through, things move pretty fast.

2008 Polka Grammy Preview

With Super Tuesday behind us, it’s time to focus on a contest that really matters: the Grammy award for Best Polka Album, to be handed out this Sunday in Los Angeles. This year’s nominees include some polka freaks from Texas, a pair of Canadian polka greats, and a 16-time winner who shows no signs of slowing down. Let’s take a closer look at the nominees:

Brave Combo, Polka’s Revenge

Eclectic polka-rockers Brave Combo are no strangers to the Grammy scene, having won in 1999 for their album Polkasonic and in 2005 for their album Let’s Kiss. For more than twenty five years, they’ve relentlessly busted genres and boldly taken polkas where they’ve never gone before. On Polka’s Revenge, the band fuses rock and Tex-Mex-inspired polkas with old-world waltzes, schottisches, and obereks. Originals like “The Denton Polka” mingle freely with updated renditions of classics by the Connecticut Twins and Ampol Aires.

John Gora & Gorale, Bulletproof Polkas

Born in Poland, now living in Ontario, Canada, saxophonist John Gora and his band earned their fourth Grammy nomination this year. The repertoire on Bulletproof Polkas runs the gamut from traditional polkas sung in Polish to polka-fied covers of rock songs. In the latter category, Culture Club’s “Karma Chameleon” survives the transition well, but the same cannot be said for John Lennon’s “Woman.”

Bubba Hernandez and Alex Meixner, Polka Freak Out

When Bubba Hernandez (former bassist for Brave Combo) first heard accordionist Alex Meixner, he asked himself, “What would this guy sound like on a Tex-Mex tuned accordion with some Tejano players?” The result is Polka Freak Out, an unlikely collaboration that places Alex’s technical mastery of the accordion over a Tex-Mex rhythm section, with dollops of Tejano, pop, and rock thrown in for good measure. Think Brave Combo, but with more accordion (and a heck of an accordion player at that).

Walter Ostanek and Brian Sklar, Dueling Polkas

“Canada’s Polka King” Walter Ostanek matches up with Saskatchewan fiddler Brian Sklar and his band, the Western Senators, for an old-fashioned double album. It’s an apt pairing: Sklar is a Canadian country music legend and Ostanek has been bringing country and western stylings to Cleveland-style polkas for years. The two styles merge effortlessly on Dueling Polkas and, fifty years after starting his first band, Ostanek is still one of polka’s greatest accordionists.

Jimmy Sturr and his Orchestra, Come Share the Wine

Having won 16 out of the 22 awards given for Best Polka Album, Jimmy Sturr has earned his share of both respect and enmity from his polka colleagues. But few can deny that he’s one of polka’s hardest-working promoters, cranking out an album a year and following a relentless tour schedule that ranges from the Bayway Polish Home to Farm-Aid. Come Share the Wine may lack the star power of his most recent releases (no Willie Nelson cameo this time), but that’s actually a good thing; this time, the focus rests squarely on his top-notch band.

It’s a diverse set of contenders for the polka field and it’s anyone’s guess as to who will bring home the Grammy. Will Jimmy Sturr add another trophy to his collection? Will the Texas polka mafia power either Brave Combo or Polka Freak Out to victory? Or will one of Canada’s polka heroes swoop in from the Great White North? We’ll find out on Sunday!

Squeeze Me

Squeeze Me - Accordion OnesieChris and I have had babies on the brain lately. There’s so much cool stuff out there for kids and babies nowadays! We love these “Squeeze Me” onesies featuring our favorite instrument on the front. Gotta get the kids interested in accordions young, I always say. And these onesies are extra cool because they’re made with organic cotton. This is definitely the must-have fashion item for the new baby in your life.

If you missed them the first time, more accordion-related clothing products that we’ve come across and posted about can be found here in our clothing category.

Need more accordion? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or email.

« Newer posts