This Friday at Poor David’s Pub, Denton’s Grammy Award-winning polka band Brave Combo will play music introduced to America by immigrants and refugees. Mayor Mike Rawlings will be there.
Band member Carl Finch claims the band isn’t making a political statement — “It is just about acknowledging where a bunch of our most beloved songs came from,” he says.
Fancy says the style of music Brave Combo plays has been directly influenced by the flow of immigrants into America. Finch says their sound is influenced by many countries, including Poland, Czech Republic, Mexico, Colombia, Ireland, Germany, Scandinavia, Brazil, Japan and Argentina.
“One of the most dramatic musical evolutions in history ... occurred with the Polish-American sound,” Finch says. “When their polkas first hit the shores in the Northeast they immediately mixed with big band jazz and other European styles, like Klezmer. By the time Polish-American polka had scooted across the country to Chicago, its exposure to blues and early rock created a much leaner, grittier, funkier polka groove, which ultimately has become the most popular Polish-American polka style.”
Finch feels that prejudice toward immigrants has caused certain genres, including polka, to be maligned and ridiculed, or almost worse, simply ignored. “Polish jokes were as common as separate drinking fountains for blacks and whites. And the poor polka suffers from a serious lack of respect,” he says. “Brave Combo has been fighting a battle against racism, prejudice and judgmental attitudes for almost 40 years.”
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And the band has definitely done a lot to bring polka into the mainstream, even win Grammys, but “these days it feels like our attempts to open eyes and ears and minds have all been in vain,” Finch says.
Finch says Bravo Combo’s set list will also demonstrate how their sound was affected by music that already existed in American culture. Fourteen students from School of Rock Flower Mound will open for Brave Combo and explain the origins of each song, plus Mayor Rawlings will be in attendance.
The band hopes this show, which doubles as a 40th birthday celebration for Poor David’s Pub, will help give attendees needed perspective, or at least a good time. “The main thing we want people to do is have a blast, forget their fears and worries and enjoy the moment,” he says.
Brave Combo, 8:15 p.m. Friday, March 31, Poor David’s Pub, 1924 Greenville Ave., $15 to $27, see Facebook.