Folk to Polkas



By now everyone should know that the Polka is not a National Dance in Poland, but rather, Polkas come from old folk tunes (even war songs), set to a dance beat by Polish Americans.   And there are many styles of American Polka, with its 2/4 time syncopated beat (as opposed to the German 3/4 time polkas).

The style that just about everyone knows is the Eastern Style (played by Frank Wojnarowski and Jimmy Sturr) which is fast and bouncy.  That style is popular in New York City, Pennsylvania, Massachusets, etc. Then there is the Chicago Style Polka (played by Eddie Blazonczyk’s Versatones and Marion Lush), which is slower, and danced with more of a slide and lock-step. That is popular in Buffalo, Chicago, Milwaukee, etc.  Gaining popularity in the same region is the Honky Style Polka (Li’l Wally’s early Chicago style is good example), which is funkier, with extra syncopation.  Finally, there is the Old Country Style (Po Starym Krajsku) which features fiddles, making it sound like the Polish Highlander (Góralski) music.

There are also the Obereks (which actually are a national Polish dance),  and Waltzes, both in 3/4 time, which also derive tunes from old Polish folk songs.

So, turn up the sound and get out your dancing shoes, and listen to some examples of Polish Folk Music, which has made its way to America, via the Polka beat.

Mountaineer’s Polka – Eddie Blazonczyk’s Versatones                                                       Góralska Polka – Eddie Blazonczyk, Chet Kowalkowski & the Polish All-Stars                       Zokopiańsko – Andrzej Obrochty-Bartuś

Pasła Hancia Pawy – Zespół Lemkowyna
Andziu’s Polka – Eddie Blazonczyk & Chet Kowalkowski                                                                                     & the Polish Mountaineer All Star Orchestra

Chodziłam Koło Gaju – Kapela Gacki
Chodziłem Koło Gaju – Li’l Wally (Mały Władziu) Jagiełło
Girls from Chicago – Eddie Blazonczyk’s Versatones

Warczą Karabiny – Pieśni Patriotyczne
Innocent Eyes – Marion Lush

Na Grochowisku, Na Bobowisku – Kapela Bukowiane
Young Fellow Oberek – New Brass Express

Ej w Lesie, w Lesie – Kapela Ludowy z Poniatowej
Rosemaria – Versatones

Bystra Woda – Andrezej Obrochty-Bartuś
Boys From Chicago – Dynatones

Do Cepowin – Kapela Józefa Gąsienicy Brzegi
Happy Widower Polka – Ray Jay & The Carousels

Chopak – Ogniem i Mieczem
Hets Kets – Dynatones

Bez Zielone Jare Żytko – Goranie
Bez Zielone Żytko – Versatones

Wojenko, Wojenko – Orkestra Polskiego Radia
Wojenko, Wojenko – G-Notes

Ej Kroczkom Koni – Zespół Oławiany
Waiting for my Lover – Versatones

Od Krakowa Czarny Las – Andrzej Obrochty-Bartuś
Od Krakowa Czarny Las – Marion Lush

Song from Rzeszów – Mazowsze
Hoca Ketza – Toledo Polka Motion

Przybyli Ułani – Polska Radio Orkiestra
Lancers Came Polka – Jimmy Kilian & Honky Chicago

Krakowiaczek – Mazowsze
Chłopaki, Chłopaki – Eddie Blazonczyk’s Versatones

Chodzony from Kraków – Kapela z Mydlnik
Far Away From Home – Eddie Blazonczyk’s Versatones

Nie Chodź do Lasu – Kapela Ostrzewianie
Blondie – Dynatones

Ptaszki Śpiewają – Mazowsze
The Birds Were Singing Waltz – Eddie Blazonczyk’s Versatones

O Mój Rozmarynie – Orkiestra Polskiego Radia
O Mój Rozmarynie – Li’l Wally

Na Wyrch Marusyny – Kapela Staszka Maśniaka
Zbójcy W Karczmie – Jan Piwowarczyk – Makowska Orchstra

Hosa Dyna Hadyna – Andrzej Obrochty-Bartuś Kapela
Hosa Dyna – Eddie Blazonczyk & Chet Kowalkowski                                                                                 & the Polish Mountaineer All Star Orchestra                                                                     Hosa Dyna – Toledo Polka Motion

Od Krakowa Czarny Las – Andrzej Obrochty – Bartuś
Od Krakowa Czarny Las – Marion Lush

Za Górami Za Lasami – Polish Radio Choir & Orchestra
Fighting Mountaineers Polka – Dynatones

Melodia Cieszynskich – Mazowsze
My Mother Waltz – Ray Jay & the Carousels

Krakowiak Sądeckie – Kapela Józefowskich
Suicide Polka – Eddie Blazonczyk’s Versatones

Płynie Wisła Płynie = Chór i Orkiestra Polskiego Radia
Płynie Wisła Płynie – Marion Lush
Nad Moją Kołyska – Eddie Blazonczyk & Chet Kowalkowski                                                                   & the Polish Mountaineer All Star Orchestra

The Moral of the Story is: “It’s got a good beat and you can dance to it.”


Bonus tracks:                                                                                                                                      (sorry, I don’t have examples of the original folk songs that these polkas are based on):

Li’l Wally – Chodzi Mania Po Łące …. Pod Mostem  ….Kalina w Lesie …. Za Dwa Dolary

Eddie Blazonczyk’s Versatones –   Żegnał Góral Swą Góralkę   ….. Za Zielone Dzban ….         I’ll Marry You Saturday ….     Play Me an Oberek
(Honky Style) Angie’s Polka  ….  Up and Down Polka ….. Good Spirits Polka
(Po Staro Krajsku) Grajcie Mi Śkrzypeczki

Marion Lush – Koło Mego Ogródeczka

Patrick Nowak – Wesele u Witosa   ….  Polish Medley

See also:  Beware of the Dance Mix!!  and It’s Oberek Time                                                           and Poland’s Five National Dances

About Łowiczanka

I'm a former dancer who loves all things Polish, especially the music... whether it be folk songs and dances from Poland, or polka music from Chicago. Oh, yes, and I love pierogi !
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3 Responses to Folk to Polkas

  1. Wojciech says:

    Good reading and good links
    Thank you

  2. Jimmy B says:

    Great and well done music that brings back memories. Thanks.

  3. Pingback: Poland’s Five National Dances | Do Góry

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