> I'm still wondering about the lack of polkas as a distinct category in
> the early collections. True, as someone pointed out, there are tunes in
> O'Neill's and Roche that are now classed as polkas without being named as
> such in those collections. But there are all those neat Kerry polkas
> that are so well-known now that are absent from the turn-of-the-century
> books. Was it that polkas were not as well-established at the time? Or
> that they weren't recognized/accepted by the collectors as "real" Irish
> music? Or were there few Kerrypersons in Chicago during O'Neill's day?
> Inquiring minds want to know...
> Paul Wells
Comments from my friend Kevin Meyers, an Uilleann piper with Kerry roots:
- The musical orientation of the people writting the tune books
(O'Neill etc.) may be reason
- There are a lot of unnamed (Gan Ainm) polkas played & danced in Kerry
- Reels were everywhere in Ireland, polkas only in southwest Munster
- The popularity of the Polka could have been late coming
- There are only 30 or so set dances that have survived to present
- Dancing masters had their special long dances such as "The Blackbird"
and "King of the Faeries" which had an odd number of bars to
- Most of your Kerry people settled in the east, especially
Massachusetts, especially in Springfield.
Hope this helps,