2009-12-31 / Scene

Kielbasa Kings

Polka group visits the PIX
BY EMILY CASWELL STAFF WRITER

The Kielbasa Kings will polka their way into the Pix On Jan. 8. The Kielbasa Kings will polka their way into the Pix On Jan. 8. LAPEER — Kevin Jakubowicz can play all the Polka music you want to hear, and on the accordion no less. Just don’t ask him to dance.

“I am a horrible dancer,” he said laughing. “I really don’t have any advice.”

Except for, of course, just do it.

A dancing crowd is a big reason Jakubowicz and his buddies formed their Dearborn-based Polka band — The Kielbasa Kings — back in the summer of 1999.

Jakubowicz and his friends, all musicians, came from a variety of musical backgrounds, but since most of them have Polish roots, they decided to give that genre a try one afternoon at a backyard picnic.

“We just thought it’d be fun,” said Jakubowicz.

Thinking they liked what they came up with, the group decided to shop their sound around.

“We got a lot of response,” said Jakubowicz, a piano and organ player who picked up the accordion in the early 1990s. “There weren’t very many Polka bands around the Metro Detroit area.”

Now, after more than 10 years, four albums and a couple of lineup changes, the Kielbasa Kings are bringing that sound to the PIX Theatre in downtown Lapeer at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 8.

The Kielbasa Kings feaure Jakubowicz on accordion and vocals; Tom Gyuran on bass; Barry Klakulak on drums and vocals; Justin Manaici on clarinet, alto saxophone and vocals; and Nick Hansinger on trumpet and vocals. They play a combination of traditional Polka tunes, along with a few originals.

“We try to incorporate songs and tunes that people are familiar with,” said Jakubowicz.

He promises, though, that even those who aren’t die-hard Polka fans will enjoy the Kielbasa Kings’ show.

“They become fans of it ... It’s fun music,” said Jakubowicz. “It (isn’t) music that (is) going to be a downer.”

In fact, added Jakubowicz, the opposite is true. While he might not be hitting the dance floor, he said audience members usually have a hard time sitting still during a Kielbasa Kings performance.

“They’re there to dance,” he said. “It’s a really positive and fun experience.”

Jakubowicz added that “there’s nothing better,” than seeing the audience dance.

But really how could anything less than fun come from a band whose name includes a meat product.

“We’re a fun band,” said Jakubowicz.

The name Kielbasa Kings, he said, actually came from his wife. After the band first formed they were about to play their first gig when they realized they didn’t have a name. Hoping to come up with something original, the group started talking to Jakubowicz’s wife, who just happened to be preparing Kielbasa at the time and suggested the Kielbasa Kings.

“Everybody laughed for like five minutes,” said Jakubowicz.

They had a winner.

The group, who performs at all sorts of festivals, venues and private parties, including weddings, do about 35 live shows a year, all of which are packed with energy that keep the Kings going.

“People are so appreciative of what we do,” said Jakubowicz. “The people who hear us are very into what we do.”

Tickets to the show are $12, and $10 for seniors. Details: www.pixlapeer.org or www.kielbasakings.com.

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