Yesterday, The Dreadnoughts, an amazing Canadian band, had a pretty interesting and heavy blog post: https://thedreadnoughts.substack.com/p/polka-might-actually-die “Polka Might Actually Die.” For those of you who aren’t familiar with their album and its anthem- “Polka Never Dies”– check it out now! This song has been a rocking set closer for the Alex Meixner Band ever since I heard the original recording.
In response to their very well-worded blog, I offer up this acoustic, solo rendition of Polka Never Dies. In 100 years there will be no emo music, in 100 years there will be no screamo music but in 1000 years there still will be POLKA!!!!– or at least we hope. The joyous beat, and energy of the music– in all of its indigenous ethnic forms and fusions has been the soundtrack of my life. I love performing all kinds of music, but polkas are the roots of everything for me. Amidst my work in jazz and classical music, many of the musicians and enthusiasts have noted declines in the popularity of these genres, but there is a respect given to those musical genres that maintain them in academic and artistic circles. at least as museum pieces. Polka music, for all of its lighthearted nature, is a folk music that has existed to bring people together. It’s been mocked. It’s been disrespected. It’s not given any amount of seriousness by the general public yet, it has existed because it’s needed. In this day and age, when so much of the world is getting more divided, we need something that is just joyous and fun to bring people together. Are there people who have made statements with polka music that aren’t appropriate? Yup. Has it ever been meant with malice? Not to my eye or ear. Definitely not by me at any time. I believe we need to have a communal spirit that brings people together and polka music does that for me. From the church picnics I first performed at with my sisters and my Dad’s band as a kid up to the larger festivals I’ve had the great opportunity to headline with my band, I’ve seen this positive power. I’ve also watched the ethnic clubs that were the lifeblood of our circuit go away. I’ve listened to people say that when I play rock and pop tunes with polkas that I’m hurting the true music and they couldn’t be more wrong. I’m doing all I can to make the music relevant and play it in a manner that is authentic to me. When we’ve achieved our goal is when the people who were first attracted to our shows for Ozzy and AC/DC covers come back and request traditional tunes…It makes me happy. I’m a 4th generation musician in a family of polka musicians. Will my children be the 5th generation? Maybe. Maybe not…Time will tell…But if one person discovers the music and chooses happiness for an extra moment today– I feel fulfilled. “You must be the change you wish to see in the world. “