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CUCA RECORDS

James Kirchstein

 

 

 

Slovenian Style Polkas

Wisconsin Style Polkas

Cuca Records was founded by James Kirchstein in 1959 and actively produced LP recordings until the early 1970s. During this period Cuca recorded and released primarily polka and ethnic music on its LPs but also issued other musical styles including pop, rhythm and blues, folk, and jazz. At the same time, Cuca was actively engaged in recording rock and other popular groups for release on the ubiquitous 45 rpm record. Most musicians recorded by Cuca were from Wisconsin or adjacent states. Consequently, the Cuca recordings represent a concentrated view of Wisconsin's ethnic and popular music in this period. Recent years have witnessed surging interest in Cuca. Cuca figures prominently in Tom Tourville's "They Couldn't Tame Us:" The Wisconsin 60s Rock Discography (Fairmont, MN: Midwest Publications, 1992) and in Gary Myers' volume, Do You Hear That Beat: Wisconsin Pop/Rock in the 50s & 60s (Downey, CA: Hummingbird Publications, 1994) Polka From Cuca, a video by Dave Erickson (Ootek Productions, 1994) has aired several times on Wisconsin Public Television. Sarah Filzen, a student at UW-Milwaukee, completed her master thesis entitled "The History of Cuca Records, 1959-1973: A Case Study of an Independent Record Company." Prominent musicians recorded by Cuca include blues man Earl Hooker, pop groups such as the Fendermen and the Corporation, country music legend Pee Wee King, rhythm and blues artists Birdlegs and Pauline, and Madison's dean of traditional jazz Doc Dehaven. But most notably, Cuca is known for the host of polka and ethnic musicians recorded on its label: Verne Meisner, Al Roberts, Roger Bright, Bill Savatski, Tony Rademacher and Don Gralak, to name a few.

 

 

 

 

 

    

 

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