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Karl and the Country Dutchmen (The Kennedy Center)

Karl and the Country Dutchmen

A professional polka musician from age 13, Karl Hartwich quickly eschewed the uniforms and painted bandstands, trappings of the earlier Dutchman polka bands that patterned their on-stage appearances after the popular swing bands of their era.  Mr. Hartwich, who plays the Chemnitzer concertina, learned his instrument from Syl Liebl, a Dutchman-style concertina player who played with the Jolly Swiss Boys.  At 13 Mr. Hartwich began sitting in with the Swiss Boys, and six months later founded his own band, now in its 26th year.


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