Mollie Busta, known by her stage name Mollie B, is a popular polka music performer, who has spent a lifetime traveling to entertain fans in 25 states and 11 countries. She began singing with her family in the Jim Busta Band at the age of three and was playing piano by eight. Mollie grew to play several instruments both for school and her family band. She received a B.A. in music from Luther College and a M.A. in instruction from St. Mary's University of Minnesota. In 2005, Mollie joined Ted Lange's Bratwurst Boys. In 2007, Ted and Mollie changed the name to Squeezebox, with which she still performs.
Later, she was creative director and co-producer of the Mollie B Polka Party on RFD-TV, reaching 55 million homes. In 2017, she hosted the documentary, POLKA!, released by Wisconsin Public Television. Mollie has won the Favorite Female Vocalist Award numerous times from the U.S. Polka Association and the International Polka Association. She continues to work with the Mollie B Polka Party and perform live at various events. A schedule of events is available online at www.mollieb.com.
Mollie B's exclusive interview with the Fraternal Herald follows.
What is your favorite song and instrument? Why?
I don't have a favorite song. My favorite instrument is probably a grand piano; however, the accordion and concertina are right up there, when well played.
Who is someone you admire from past polka music?
There are several I admire due to the vision they had with their music.
What would be a dream location or venue for you to play?
Any place in the world where I could safely be and play for those who could use happiness.
Where is one of your most memorable places to play?
I have so many: Europe, Asia, on cruise ships, and all over the U.S. The TV shows have always been fun and challenging.
Do you have any unusual stories to tell of something that happened while you were on tour?
Yes. But none that stand out more than others. So often the life I live on the road is quite different than what people expect. I drive, carry equipment, and work in the hotel room on my computer when not on stage. But we have taken wrong turns, vehicle difficulties, missing musicians (never anything serious), the places we eat, the people we meet -- these all have given us stories.
Are there other kinds of music you like to play?
Yes. Jazz, classical, and country.
How did you start the Mollie B Polka Party?
I received a call from the founder of RFD-TV and within a week, we had a plan and vision.
What do you love about polka music compared to other forms of music?
It truly is happy music! It has always been music to celebrate with family, the young and old. The fans are friends and it feels like a family.
Why do you think polka has been so popular historically, and continues to be popular, not only here, but all over the world?
It helps us hold on to the traditions that were important to our parents and grandparents. It is a family activity. It is relatively inexpensive.
As you worked on the documentary, what really excited you that you can share about the history of Polka?
I had been exposed to the history of music long before that. Back when I educated myself about the music for my senior paper in college, I thought it was so neat how polka became popular after WWII because people wanted their spirits raised and dancing the polka is a way for people to do that.
How can we attract new audiences to polka?
Allow the music to evolve while still holding on to our roots. Market and advertise beyond the “normal” crowd.
What do you like most about attending Czech and Slovak festivals in the United States?
The people. I like down-home, good people and those people definitely come out for Czech and Slovak festivals.
Special thanks to Mollie B for this interview. Photos are courtesy of Mollie B.
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