Durbin Marks the Passing of Chicago's "Polka King"
Eddie Blazonczyk, Sr. helped define "Chicago Sound"
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today honored Eddie Blazonczyk, Sr. - Chicago's "Polka King" - in the U.S. Senate. Blazonczyk, who passed away Monday at the age of 70, was a Chicago native who earned several Grammy nominations along with the Versatones polka band and also received the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship for preserving Polish Heritage Music.
“Eddie took a traditional sound and infused it with rock-and-roll, Cajun, zydeco, and country, creating something both familiar and entirely different,” Durbin said. “The Polish American community lost a music hero this week, but his legacy will live on at weddings, celebrations and parties for generations to come.”
Durbin also noted that Chicagoland is home to the largest Polish population outside of Poland. Illinois celebrates Casimir Pulaski Day on the first Monday of March each year. Durbin helped secure honorary posthumous United States citizenship for Pulaski—an honor given to only six other people in our nation’s history.
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