Dr. Richard March, a Wisconsin Arts Board Folk Arts Specialist, has compiled, produced, and annotated a new CD from the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings . "Deeper Polka" is a compilation of 27 selections by seven bands, each performing in a distinctive ethnic polka style. A 36-page booklet contains historical background on polka idioms and biographical information on the musicians.
Sample "Deeper Polka" with two Wisconsin bands featured on the CD (in RealPlayer):
"Laughing Concertina" is by Brian and the Mississippi Valley Dutchmen from 'Deeper Polka' Smithsonian Folkways . It is provided courtesy of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, copyright 2002 and used by permission.
Smithsonian ethnomusicologist Dr. Anthony Seeger suggested that March produce a varied but cohesive compilation of representative recordings from the European-American bands participating in the 1998 festival. Owing to the critical and sales success of "Deep Polka," Smithsonian Folkways Recordings suggested that March produce a second, similar CD.
Since it is not linked to a festival program, March had free rein in the selection of bands, drawing on some of the most outstanding performers from six states. The result is a compilation that truly showcases the musical excellence to be found in these varied ethnic polka traditions.
As March has said, "It is unfortunate that schlocky commercial polka recordings have fostered a stereotype that polka is nothing but idiotic kitsch. The Smithsonian Institution's imprimatur on "Deeper Polka" provides validation to these musical traditions, nurtured in the Heartland for over 150 years."
As a Wisconsin Arts Board Folk Arts Specialist, March is responsible for promoting and educating the public about the various traditional arts of our state. He was pleased to be able to include two Wisconsin bands on this national CD spotlighting polka, Wisconsin's official state dance.
Help celebrate the release of the "Deeper Polka" CD with a PortalWisconsin.org chat on Thursday, July 11 at 12:00 p.m. Mr. March and other polka enthusiasts will discuss polka and its tradition in Wisconsin.
"Deep Polka" and "Deeper Polka" can be found at your local record store or you can contact Smithsonian Folkways directly at 1-800-410-9815 to place an order.