Oral History Collection
Minnesota Polka Oral History Project
The narrators in this series have all been involved with the performance of ethnic polka music—Polish, Slovakian, Finnish, Czech, German and Swedish—in Minnesota and adjacent states. Among those interviewed are band leaders, instrumentalists, and singers, some of whom performed locally and others who traveled nationally. They discuss some of the centers important to polka music, particularly the Mesabi Iron Range and New Prague in Minnesota, as well as Chicago and Cleveland.
Topics touched on by the narrators include their musical training, the role that music played in their home lives and social gatherings, changes in the size and musical preferences of audiences, the advent of electronics, and the impact of other musical styles on "pure" ethnic music. The interviews also include reminiscences about various bands and players.