Malek’s Band will be celebrating 85 years of Malek music and 50 Years of Bob Malek’s Fishermen from 1-6 p.m. Sunday, June 11, at the Community Ballroom in Duncan.

This free dance will feature the sounds of the Malek Fishermen Band. Food will be available for purchase and a cash bar will be open. 

History of Malek music

The Czech village of Duncan was full of music and small bands were just a common part of everyday life in the 1930s. Many bands emerged from this North-Central Iowa area and brothers Syl and Ed Malek decided that they would like a shot at the music business as well. Little did they know, the same music they started would continue for another 85 years.

In 1932 Malek Bros. Accordian Band was born. Syl played sax and clarinet, while Ed played the accordion and guitar. They played a few gigs by themselves for small house parties, but when they were asked to play barn dances, they decided to add a few more musicians. Popularity grew for the band, and soon they were hired for old-time dances at ballrooms. Running a 5- to 6-piece band in those days was difficult. The boys were also crop farming, milking cows, raising families and were active with church, school and community hall functions.

Malek’s Accordian Band played mostly in the northern half of Iowa and southern part of Minnesota playing up to 200 dances a year. In the 1960’s, Syl decided to take a rest from the music industry. But Ed and the trumpet player, Marv Lackore, kept the band going, along with their kids, and changed the name to L&M Family Affair. L&M played steady until the 1980s, at which time that band retired.

In 1967 Bob, Syl’s son, started up a band and played for a few parties and local celebrations. Starting as “The Fishermen,” the band was called many names by the locals. In the mid 1970’s, Malek’s Fishermen Band was declared the official name. Syl came back to the bandstand once again, this time next to his son, Bob. Starting as a small group, they worked up to a 6-piece band that quickly became very popular in the area.

Once the band started traveling, it wasn’t long before they were booked into many ballrooms and festivals throughout the Midwest. A fan club was organized and Malek’s Fishermen vests were seen on dance floors everywhere. Bus trips were organized and many good times were had by the band and dancers alike.

In the early 1990’s Bob’s son, Eric started playing trumpet on the band and the third generation of Malek’s began. In 1994, Syl Malek died, but the band kept going. Crystal, Bob’s daughter, started on sax and vocals, creating the three-part vocal and horn harmonies for which Malek’s became famous.

Who would have guessed that the Malek brothers would have started such a tradition back in the early 1930s? The Malek band has played many 50th and 60th wedding anniversaries for couples that hired the band for their wedding dances as well as their 25th anniversary parties. Malek’s Fishermen have made 11 recordings over the years, and continue a busy playing schedule to this day. For more information, to purchase CDs, or to book the band, visit the website: www.maleksfishermen.com.

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