SLOVENIAN STYLE POLKAS - CLEVELAND STYLE POLKAS - BUTTON BOX MUSIC - SLOVENE TUNES - YUGOSLAV FOLK SONGS

 

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SLOVENIAN STYLE POLKAS - CLEVELAND STYLE POLKAS - BUTTON BOX MUSIC - SLOVENE TUNES - YUGOSLAV FOLK SONGS

 

 

 

DON GRALAK

1952 - 2004

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slovenian Style Polkas

Wisconsin Style Polkas

Donald R. Gralak began his career at the early age of six. His parents’ love of music prompted his father to bring home a small accordion for Don’s amusement. Instead of learning to play, however, Don decided to entertain himself by disassembling the instrument. After several accordions, Don’s dad finally brought home a concertina since it was harder to take apart. From that point on the two were inseparable. Throughout the years, Don’s family tree had included several concertina artists including his grandfather, uncles and a second cousin, Erv Matti. For several years, Don studied the concertina with local Milwaukee virtuoso Stan Nowicki. At the age of nine, Don began his public career with several radio and television appearances on WTMJ’s “Joe Shot and the Hot Shots”. By the age of ten, Don was playing solo for parties, bridal showers and small functions. When Stan Nowicki became ill and suffered the loss of his eyesight in 1963, Don took over Stan’s students and continued to teach the concertina for the next 18 years. Throughout the 1960’s Don created his own band and performed with it throughout the Milwaukee area. In 1969 Don released his first album, “Introducing Don Gralak” on the Cuca label. Several other LPs would follow, with the release of “Encore”, “Saloon” and “Happy Polkateers”, being distributed nationally on the Crescendo label. For most of Don’s recording career, Joe Grilli played drums, and Jerry Beniek or Jerry Krahn played banjo and guitar, and for a period of time Kenny Brandt joined the band on saxophone. Don’s playing was very unusual in that he played mostly Slovenian-style music on the concertina, which was traditionally a Polish or German band instrument. Don passed away suddenly at age 51 on Janurary 24, 2004 from a congenital heart defect.

 

Click here for the complete Don Gralak Biography.

 

 

 

 

 

STRIP POLKA

 

Now there's a burlesque theatre

Where the gang loves to go

To see Queenie the cutie

Of the burlesque show

And the thrill of the evening

Is when out Queenie skips

And the band plays the polka

While she strips

"Take it off," "Take it off"

Cries a voice from the rear

"Take it off," Take it off"

Soon it's all you can hear

But it’s alway a polka

and just pantomime

So she stop!

 

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Wisconsin

Polka Hall Of Fame

Award

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trustees

Honor Roll

 

Polka Hall Of Fame

 

Don Gralak Miscellaneous Recordings UNDER CONSTRUCTION
Don Gralak Song Titles

AMERICA'S

CONCERTINA KING