"Horn Man explores the history of twentieth-century Detroit's Polish-American musical landscape. The beauty of Polish and Polish-American customs and culture is also illumined. Music is an inseparable part of Polish life, and because of polka's communal aspect, polka musicians are some of the best examples American society has of family bonds and Christian values. The pillar Detroit polka band-leaders who came of age during the Great Depression were, for the most part, community oriented and family focused. Therefore, while they were superstars in their own galaxy and their names readily recognizable in their own circles, in general, their names were not quite as prominent as those of the well-known superstars of the Polka Era. They were, however, no less talented and diversified and their lives no less fascinating than those of their contemporaries in other Polish-American communities (Polania). In fact, it was their diversification, entrepreneurial skills, and ability to adapt that ensured that they survived in an erratic, chaotic industry. They were trained in theory and the classics, as well as in jazz, voice, and the popular big-band dance music of the era. Along with their colleagues across America, they were among the nation's first ethnomusicologists and the creators of a new genre of American music. They recorded on major record labels, created and developed their own record labels, published sheet music, appeared on radio and television, performed with visiting luminaries and for traveling dignitaries, and became savvy marketers of their product: musical entertainment. Yet, as a result of technological innovations, the influx of rock and roll, and the trend toward an increasing American ethnocentrism, their heyday was tragically brief and fleeting."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Detroit and its strong Polish community share in America's rich history of Polish music and customs. This work documents that history and details the development of the Polish-American musicians in Detroit who became known as polka musicians, even though their music was very diversified.