Pawlo Humeniuk

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Ukrainian orchestra from 1909, Humeniuk at bottom left

Pawlo Humeniuk (anglicized as Paul Homenick; June 18, 1883[1] – January 24, 1965) was a Polish/Ukrainian-American fiddler from the early 20th century who became one of the biggest stars of the era's ethnic music.[2]

Biography[edit]

Humeniuk was born in Pidvolochysk, a village that was then known as Podwołoczyska, Austria-Hungary, and is now in Ukraine. His native language was Polish.[3] He arrived in the United States on December 8, 1908, where he found work as a violin maker.[1] He performed at various celebrations, such as weddings, in New York.

Humeniuk was signed to Okeh Records in 1925, and began recording on December 3 of that year. His early records sold well, and included kolomyjkas, kozachoks and polkas. He was the undisputed king of Ukrainian-American popular music, until Columbia Records began promoting Ewgen Zukowsky. The two occasionally worked together, such as on "Ukrainske Wesilia", which is said to have sold more than 100,000 copies (though reliable records are not available from this era).

After 1926, Humeniuk began recording traditional Polish music under the name Pawel Humeniak. His influence in this field is important, as he helped developed the genre of American polka and inspired future bandleaders like Edward Krolikowski and Ignacy Podgorski. His 1928 "Kanarek" was the best-selling polka in the era, and set the standard for eastern style polka.

Humeniuk's last recording came in 1940.

He was married to Antoinetta Szeponias. They had three children: Walter (born 1914), Mitchell (1916) and Lucy (1925).[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Immigration application for Paul Humeniuk; New York, Naturalization Records, 1882-1944
  2. ^ rutracker.org
  3. ^ 1930 United States Federal Census