In many cases, immigrants and migrants could bring only a few items with them when they left their homes, but the intangible things they brought often meant much more.  One of the most common was music.  Youngstown once had a whole orchestra made up of immigrants, and popular and folk music helped many people cope with hardship, maintain an emotional bond with their home regions, and in cases even preserve the language.

Polka was one of the most common musical styles brought to the U.S. by immigrants from across Europe and elsewhere. To learn more about this, visit The Power of Polka exhibit.

While polka bands were often featured at ethnic gatherings, people also sang folk songs from the old country at home, and in some cases, they even translated American songs into their native tongues.  You can hear some examples in this collection of Yiddish songs, sung by Frances Raven Sieman and her brother, Bert Raven.

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