“The Recording Academy, which bestows the Grammy Awards, announced late on Wednesday that the polka category would be eliminated, saying in a statement that it had been cut “to ensure the awards process remains representative of the current musical landscape.”–New York Times
Whether you roll out your barrel Cleveland-style or Chicago-style, the world became a sadder place in the last couple years, as word spread that there will be no more Grammys awarded for Best Polka Recording.
distraught Polka-Americans reacting to Grammy snub
Jimmy Sturr has received more Grammys–18–than Bruce Springsteen. That’s eighteen of the twenty-four awards EVER given for Best Polka Album. Yet when asked about his success, he exemplifies the humility, and, indeed the universality of polka music:
“I’m not going to say I’m the best band in the whole world, but we’re just as good as any.”
True enough, Jimmy. But what of the children, the dozens of fresh-faced kids who begged their daddies for their first used accordions? To what can they aspire? They won’t be able to break Jimmy’s polka Grammy record, because there won’t be any more polka Grammys to receive.
To be sure, polka has its critics. Some have said that exposure to its frenetic rhythms has led to an increase in ADD and ADHD in children. Others claim that polka music leads to alcoholism, while still others believe that alcohol leads to polka music. Despite these concerns, one thing is clear–polka music deserves to be celebrated. I mean come on–they give a Grammy for Spoken Word Recording–try dancing to any one of the winners in that category.
For future generations, June 3rd, 2009 will surely be known as The Day The Accordion Died. When asked about the popularity of polka music as compared to other, more ‘award-worthy’ genres, I think once again Jimmy Sturr said it best:
“Polka isn’t the biggest,” he said, “but it’s not the smallest, either.”