McKeesport's Own Mikey Dee on Polka's Enduring Popularity

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Podcast

For folks who attend International Village each year, Mikey Dee needs no introduction. The McKeesport native and McKeesport Area High School graduate serves as master of ceremonies, but since he was a teen-ager, he's also been a working, touring musician, both with his own band and with musicians such as Frankie Yankovic and Harold Betters.

Dee has just recorded what he says is his "20th or 21st" album --- "In Your Dreams" --- an album of polka tunes, including covers and several originals.

We asked him to explain some of the culture of polka music, the reasons for its enduring popularity, and why it still holds such an important role in the lives of people of Eastern European descent in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Milwaukee and other cities.

You can hear the interview --- and two tracks for Dee's new CD --- on "Two Rivers, 30 Minutes." The show airs at 9:30 a.m. Fridays on WEDO (810), 8 a.m. Sundays on WZUM (1550), and is available as a free podcast from Stitcher and iTunes.

Last week, we broadcast John Hoerr's 2009 speech at McKeesport Heritage Center, when he discussed the life of McKeesport-born playwright Marc Connelly, as well as his own novel about McKeesport, "Monongahela Dusk":

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ADVERTISEMENT: Support for "Two Rivers, 30 Minutes" comes in part from the McKeesport Hospital Foundation. Since 1976, the foundation has addressed key concerns that affect our good health, as well as our education, social needs, recreation, and safety and security. The foundation partners with UPMC McKeesport and other agencies to eliminate barriers to all services for all residents of the Mon Valley. Visit www.mckhospitalfoundation.com, or call (412) 664-2590.

Originally published July 02, 2015.

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