Walter Ostanek

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Walter Ostanek
Walter Ostanek in 2011.jpg
Walter Ostanek at Marineland in July 2011
Background information
Birth name Ladislav Walter Ostanek
Born (1935-04-20) 20 April 1935 (age 78)
Duparquet, Quebec, Canada
Origin St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
Genres Polka
Occupations musician, songwriter
Instruments Accordion
Years active 1936–present

Walter Ostanek, CM[1][2](born Ladislav Walter Ostanek 20 April 1935 Duparquet,[3] Quebec, Canada), is known as Canada's Polka King. He has received thirteen nominations for Grammy Awards and won three.[4]

Early life[edit]

Originally from Duparquet his family moved to St. Catharines, Ontario, when he was a boy. A young Ostanek received his first accordion as a gift in 1944. After several years, Ostanek became a popular entertainer in Southern Ontario, performing Cleveland-style polkas and waltzes. He could be heard frequently on the radio in St. Catharines and Welland. Walter began playing polka after his best friend introduced him to the accordion at age 5.

Career[edit]

In 1957 Ostanek formed his own band playing Slovenian-style polka music.[5] In 1963, Ostanek and his band, Walter Ostanek Band, would record their first of many albums. Over his career, Ostanek would record more than 50 albums and become known as Canada's Polka King.[6] He has received three Grammy Awards and he has been nominated thirteen times. His style has been compared to America's Polka King, Frankie Yankovic of Cleveland. Like the late Yankovic, Walter Ostanek is of Slovene descent.

Walter Ostanek.
Ostanek (right) appearing at the 2006 Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest

Ostanek hosted his own television shows (one for fourteen consecutive years), radio shows, and polka tours. He has appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Phil Donahue, Tommy Hunter Show, Cleveland's Polka Varieties, and his own award-winning TV specials and telethons. He has appeared in concert with Roy Clark, the Oakridge Boys, Ronnie Milsap, Ray Price, Mel Tillis, Brenda Lee, Slim Whitman, Tom T. Hall, T. G. Shepard, Tommy Hunter, Lawrence Welk, Myron Floren, Frank Yankovic, Black Forest Band, and Weiss Blau.

Walter Ostanek is a member of Canada's Walk of Fame as well as the Polka Halls of Fame in Cleveland and Chicago. Currently Ostanek does two main concert sets each year: one at Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ontario, the other during Oktoberfest in Kitchener, Ontario.

He is also the subject of the 2006 Bravo! network documentary The Cult of Walt: Canada’s Polka King. Ostanek is also cited as the inspiration for the Second City Television polka parody, the Shmenge Brothers.[7] and the Osler show.

Walter currently resides in St. Catharines, Ontario. He was the owner of the popular music store "Ostanek's" until April 1, 2013, when the store was converted to a Long & McQuade's.[8] He still plays locally.

Awards and recognition[edit]

Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

  • ca 1962 "Walter Ostan" Marianne
  • 1998 "Larhonda Polka" Here Come the Polka Heroes[9]

Walter Ostanek Band[edit]

  • The Walter Ostanek Band [10]

Walter Ostanek and His Band[edit]

Walter Ostanek and His Polka Band[edit]

  • I Like Frankie Yankovic [11]

Walter Ostanek and His Polka Kings[edit]

Walter Ostanek[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Governor General of Canada. "Canada Gazette Vol. 134, No. 13 — March 25, 2000". www.gazette.gc.ca. http://www.canada.gc.ca/home.html. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  2. ^ Governor General of Canada. "Canada Gazette Vol. 134, No. 13 — March 25, 2000" (PDF). www.gazette.gc.ca. http://www.canada.gc.ca/home.html. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  3. ^ Charlotte Dillon (14 September 2009). "Walter Ostanek Biography". www.allmusic.com. Allmusic. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  4. ^ "WALTER OSTANEK 2001 INDUCTEE". www.canadaswalkoffame.com. Canada's Walk of Fame. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  5. ^ Governor General of Canada. "Ostanek, Walter Biography". thecanadianencyclopedia.com. The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  6. ^ Ralf Hakenberg. "Artist: Ostanek, Walter Biography". jam.canoe.ca. Sun Media Corporation. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  7. ^ "It's Polka Time on Bravo! -- The Cult of Walt: Canada's Polka King". 25 September 2006. Archived from the original on 21 October 2006. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  8. ^ Don Fraser. "The last polka song for Walter Ostanek". St, Catharine's Standard. Retrieved 25 October 2014. 
  9. ^ "Various Artists". musicbrainz.org. MusicBrainz. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  10. ^ Library and Archives Canada. "AMICUS No. 11934611". amicus.collectionscanada.ca. canada.gc.ca/main_e.html. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  11. ^ Library and Archives Canada. "AMICUS No. 33553580". amicus.collectionscanada.ca. canada.gc.ca/main_e.html. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  12. ^ Library and Archives Canada. "AMICUS No. 33553570". amicus.collectionscanada.ca. canada.gc.ca/main_e.html. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  13. ^ Library and Archives Canada. "AMICUS No. 32117984". amicus.collectionscanada.ca. canada.gc.ca/main_e.html. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 

External links[edit]