Polka legend, Jan Cyman, died peacefully at his Florida home January 29, 2012. He was inducted to the International Polka Association Hall of Fame (Deceased Category) in 2013.
Rest in peace, Jan.
Tribute to Jan Cyman (1951 - 2012)
Message From A Polka Fan
There are many wonderful polka videos online, but just a few actually highlight not only the best playing, singing and performances in the field, but also ( thanks to exceptional filming) the public euphria (that rare phenomenon we know as "polka happiness") created by the performances. As a big fan of polka videos in general, both for their entertainment value and as the best means of showing the world what this music is about, I believe that the following three videos meet these criteria better than any others I have seen , and that these performances and those who filmed them thus deserve special credit for showing the world the best polka music has to offer (Others will no doubt have other opinions---and "finds"-- It would be great to hear about these, too) - -I'm listing these ( with a couple of comments) in no particular order --They're all "winners," I feel in different ways:
(1) Connecticut's award winning, and phenomenally talented, Polka Country Musicians: The video of their dynamic medley "Boys from Chicago/Polka Joy" (I watch the USPA 2010 version, filmed by Tribeisone, the most, but each one features possibly the best concertina playing + vocal performance in the field by the incredibly talented Wally Dombrowski --- He excels on every band instrument and plays them interchangeably --- as well as phenomenal showmanship by the entire group . This is indeed rare: most groups are lucky if they have even one "showman".) What's more, this video shows a totally enraptured crowd, in each instance, totally transported on a wave of (Yes, the term fits completely: This song might well make a good anthem for the entire field) "Polka Joy."
(2) John Góra/Górale with Jan Cyman: Góralska Polka = the best Polish vocalizing in the field by John, with great harmony and playing by guest Jan and the entire band, especially RICK MALKIEWICZ, whose ecstatic, joyful playing and demeanor convey the essential meaning of this famous song (that the Polish mountains are close to heaven),
like no other---and then there is the crowd and the dancers---Every moment is magic. (Beautifully filmed by "Worlddancing".) [See video below]
(3) "Bandleader's Polka" by EB Versatones: Eddie's great singing and band are legendary: This particular video is special though, because (as writers on YouTube comment) the cameramen (Polkaeditor + Ed V.) capture the huge dancing public and crowd participation in a way few if any others have done: The camera sweeps over waves and waves of dancers in the huge packed arena, as well as the packed crowd in front of the band to show the world the spectacle of a huge , inspired polka dancing crowd in the best of times, a scene that most in the world certainly never saw before and even most of us may never see again.
There are performances that have received more "views" than some of these (especially the most recent ones), and some that feature equally proficient playing --- but I don't recall seeing any that show singers, musicians, spectators and dancers in such perfect harmony and joy: Each of these segments is a lasting tribute to the very best that this field has to offer the world. To borrow a term made familiar to us by a recent writer, God bless everyone involved in creating these lasting tributes to polka music, which will in all likelihood pass on the message of what "Polka Joy", at its best, was all about long after we are gone from the scene. -- Once again, if anyone has comparable favorites to recommend, by all means share them: These wonders deserve highlighting --- and every possible form of praise.
- Stan Szczsponik
Jan Cyman was inducted to the IPA Hall of Fame in 2013.
Congratulations to the entire Cyman family!
Polka Music Hall of Fame
The year was 1963, Buffalo, New York. Fifteen year old Jan Cyman played trumpet in school. With Larry Trojak, and Whitey Ryniec, Jan joined them in forming the Dynatones. After eight years with the band, he became a member of the New Brass and moved to Massachusetts.
In 1976, Jan started his own band known as the Musicalaires. He traveled across he country and promoted polka music. After the death of his father in1987, Jan and his family moved to Florida where he continued to play and produce polka music, including his own internet radio show. Over the years, his signature trumpet and vocals were heard alongside: New Phaze, Sunshine State Express, Florida Honky Band and the B-Sharps for whom he played his final gig.
Jan was the first president of the Polka Boosters Club of Buffalo, New York.
Until his passing in 2012. His love of music would only be surpassed by his love of his five grandchildren. Jan is survived by his wife Judy, daughters Tracy and Chrissie and son Jeffrey.
It is proper for Jan to be recognized for his efforts by being posthumously inducted into the Polka Music Hall of Fame.
More about Jan Cyman
In his youth, Jan was an avid boy scout in his hometown of Buffalo, New York. He also was first music chair at his high school.
The year was 1965, Buffalo, New York. Fifteen year old Jan Cyman played the trumpet in school. A couple of good friends, Larry Trojak and Whitey Ryniec, wanted to start a polka band, but Jan had no idea what polka was. They brought him to see polka bands in the area so he could get the feel for the style of music. Shortly after, they became the Dynatones.
After eight years with the band, Jan was offered a spot with the New Brass. With the love and support of his wife Judy and son Jeffrey, they packed up and moved to Massachusetts.
In 1976, Jan decided to start his own band and founded the Musicalaires. Jan, now with the additions of his two daughters, Tracy and Christie, traveled across the country, bringing his passion for polka music wherever he went. He made many friends along the way and they helped develop his love for the genre.
After the death of his father Vincent in 1987, Jan and his family moved to Florida where he continued to play, promote and produce polka music, including his own internet radio show.
Over the years, his signature trumpet and vocals were heard alongside New Phaze, Sunshine State Express, Florida Honky Polka Band and the B-Sharps, for whom he played his final gig.
Jan has the distinction of being the first president of the Polka Boosters Club of Buffalo, New York. He did the charity work for many organizations and associations including the Felician nuns.
Until his passing in 2012, his love of music would only be surpassed by his love of his five grandchildren who looked up to and idolized their very own polka legend.
Jan is survived by his wife Judy, daughters Tracy and Chrissie, son Jeffrey, and five grandchildren, Ricky Lynn, Zachary, Chrissy, Parker and A.J.
- Source: 45th Anniversary IPA Festival and Awards Program