Slovenian Style Polkas

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Slovenian-style polka is an American style of polka in the Slovenian tradition. It is fast and features piano and accordion. It is usually associated with Cleveland and other Midwestern cities. It is also known as "Cleveland Style" or, more rarely, "Croatian Style". The Slovenian style polka band always includes a piano accordion and a Diatonic button accordion, also called a "button box". There is often a banjo, saxophone, or clarinet, as well as a bass guitar and drum set for rhythm. The Slovenian style polka in the United States of America came about when immigrants from Slovenia taught the old songs to their children. Those children, as adults, translated the old songs from the Slovene language into English, and arranged them in a polka beat. At first Slovenian style polka was just music for ethnic clubs and union halls, but the commercial success of Frankie Yankovic and other musicians soon introduced the genre to a wider audience. Dr. William Lausche incorporated the elements of classical music and early jazz at which point the style took on a type of swing that can be heard in his piano playing, even on some early Yankovic recordings. Johnny Pecon and Lou Trebar consequently extended the style to its furthest reaches harmonically, to the point of even including blue notes, substitutions, borrowed and altered chords homophonically or in the implied or broken form. In addition to Frankie Yankovic, notable musicians in this style include Walter Ostanek, Joe Grkman, Dick Tady, Johnny Pecon, Eddie Habat, Stan Blout, Kenny Bass, Bob Timko, Lou Trebar, Dr. William Lausche, Eddie Platt, Lou Sadar, Paul Yanchar, Adolph Srnick, Johnny Kafer, Joe Luzar, Dick Flaisman, Bruce Burger, Marty Sintic, Matt Hoyer, Mary Udovich and Josephine Lausche, and many others. The music of Slovenia is closely related to German, Austrian and Istrian because of its common history and Alpine and littoral culture. In the minds of many Slovenes and foreigners, Slovenian folk music means a form of polka that is still popular today, especially among expatriates and their descendants in the area of Cleveland, Ohio. In fact Slovenian folk music consists of many different styles and is far from being only polka and waltz. Slavko Avsenik is one of the most influential and popular polka and waltz musicians in the world[citation needed]. Oberkrainer music, which the Avsenik Ensemble popularized, remains very popular today and is always a strong candidate for folk music awards in Slovenia and Austria. Slavko and his brother, Vilko, are usually credited as the pioneers of Slovenian popular music, having solidified its style in the 1950s. One of the most famous modern Slovenian bands is Laibach, an early 1980s industrial music group. Ljubljana-native Bratko Bibič's former band Begnagrad was a massively influential 1970s group that are considered one of the direct influences on modern world music. Bibič's unique accordion style, often solo, with no accompaniment, has also made him a solo star. The history of modern Slovenian music can be traced back to the 5th century, when Christianity spread in Carantania. Liturgical hymns were introduced, and became the first plainchant to make a connection to the peoples' language. During the mediaeval era, secular music was as popular as church music, including wandering minnesingers. By the time of Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, music was used to proselytize. The first Slovenian hymnal, Eni Psalmi, was published in 1567. This period saw the rise of musicians like Jacobus Gallus and Jurij Slatkonja. In 1701, J. B. Hoffer dounded the Academia Philharmonicorum based on the Italian model. Italy was an important musical influence of the period.As the economic depression hit the country in the last half of the 18th century, music declined in popularity. Beginning in 1768, German theater companies arrived and became very popular. The 1794 formation of the Philharmonische Gesellschaft was important because it was one of the first such orchestras in Central Europe. The 19th century saw the growth of a distinctively Slovenian folk music sound based on romanticism, while the German minority continued to push for a stronger Germanic identity. In the early 20th century, impressionism was spreading across Slovenia, which soon produced composers Slavko Avsenik, Marij Kogoj and Slavko Osterc.








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