National Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame and Museum
605 East 222nd Street Euclid, OH 44123
Toll Free: 1-800-66POLKA
Dick Sodja brought an exciting style of accordion technique to cach polka band in
which he played. He joincd Polka Hall of Famer Kenny Bass and his Polka Poppers at
age l7 and remained for fifteen years. Kenny featured Dick with legendary accordionists
Frank Mauer, Bob Timko and Joe Luzar, as well as saxophohonist Dick Flaisman and
banjo man Ron Sluga, both Hall of Fame achievers.
Dick arranged the music and perforned on Kenny Bass classic Decca recordings. He
wrote many original polkas, such as "Dancing Doll," "Fancy Fingers," and "One More
Time ." Top Cleveland-Style artists have invited Dick on their albums, including
Hall of Famc honorees Al Markic, Cccilia Dolgan, Hank Haller, Ron Sluga and America's
Polka King Frank Yankovic. He has appeared on at least 200 recordings.
A native Clevelander, Dick grew up in a musical family in thc St. Clair neighborhood.
His uncle Joe Sodja started the first Slovenian big band and became famous as a jazz
guitarist wilh the Fred Warlng Orchestra. Dick served in the U.S. Army during the
Korean War and entertained the troops.
By the 1960s, Dick was a television regular on the keyboard and accordion for Frank
Yankovic's nationally syidicated polka show. Dick toured with the Polka King and
performed on the Don Ho Show in Hawaii. He then joined guitarist Al Markic to create
the Almars Orchesta. Together with Dick Flaisman, Jack Ponikvar and Lou Pike, the
Alrnars were one of the leading bands of the 1960s and 1970s. Dick also led his own
orchestra for many years.
The Sodja name is best known for Cleveland's Sodja Music store. For forty-four years,
Dick and his associates sold instruments and provided lessons for two generations
of music-makers. He retired in 2006 and lives in Arizona.