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> 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
  accomodate dancers
 
- Most of your Kerry people settled in the east, especially
  Massachusetts, especially in Springfield.
 
                                           Hope this helps,
                                                         Seamus