A Polka by Any Other Name
Tell me if this has ever happened to you.
I was in the “Bavarian” tourist town of Leavenworth last month, and Rick and I were strolling down the street trying to find something to do. There was lively Mexican music coming from speakers in the park, giving the tiny town a bright, bouyant feel.
Then I realized that we were in Leavenworth, with its bizarre Bavarian theme, so that must be German music they were playing. And suddenly the very same music felt completely different to me. Still lively, still fun, but completely square. It felt as if the weight of the song had doubled.
Have you ever noticed this? There’s so much similarity between a certain style of Mexican music and a certain style of German music that you often can’t tell them apart. That in itself is interesting. But the different emotional response to the songs depending on where you think they came from is even more interesting. You think you’re listening to Cielito Lindo, then you realize it’s the Beer Barrel Polka, and the universe shifts. One minute your heart is dressed in a skin-tight bolero jacket covered in sequins, the next minute – lederhosen.