General Description of Work: The upper Midwest became the heart of polka country in the late 19th century. Influenced by Czech (Bohemian) traditions as well as those of Scandinavians, Anglo-Celts, and Poles, polka bands played for weddings, house parties, and local celebrations. In particular, the “Deutsch” (German) bands of the Midwest truly defined the “Dutchman” style. From the 1920s through the 1950s, the heyday for this music, a variety of home-grown polka bands toured Iowa. The popularity of brass bands combined with the polka craze to produce a new and characteristically American form.
Iowa polka music today includes a mix of big band and Dutchmen style groups. A strong rhythm, melodic emphasis, and clear round notes characterize the Dutchman style. Czech bands have a similar affinity for the melodic line, making for a successful blending of those styles.
Bio: Norman Hogrefe grew up hearing the sounds of polka music. His musical family included a father and uncles who had a band. Hogrefe, who has been part of several bands from Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa, plays traditional polka music in northwestern Iowa for senior centers. He was a featured artist in the 2007 Cultural Express Polka program at the Storm Lake Library.
Services Offered 1: Performances of polka music on concertina and accordion with colleague.
Services Offered 2: Talks about polka bands in northwest Iowa.
Regions: All Regions
Months available: : call for information
Performance fees, mileage charges, related to arts services: : call to negotiate fees. Payment must include mileage and meals at the state rate plus lodging if travel of more than 2 hours is required.
Accessibility accommodations, space requirements, equipment and all other needs
that should be met by sponsors: : Two microphones. If playing for dance, appropriate dance floor.