The Instrument Collector Part Five – Accordion

Fact: in my experience, airport security always has to conduct an extra inspection on accordions.

Fact: carrying an accordion into a hotel once, someone in the hall said to me “it’s good you didn’t leave it in the car, or else you would’ve found a second one there in the morning”

A misunderstood instrument in the states, to say the least. And in my opinion, it is a joke instrument largely due to this man:

why couldn't he have played guitar and ruined THAT instrument instead??(photo credit to "Chroncile" and "Nick Tremmel")

AND, I think people hate it and make jokes about it because they actually hate polkas (and unfortunately, sir Weird is not the only polka player). I would like to rectify this lack of perspective and go through some examples of how it can fit into all sorts of genres.

For example, it made its way from Europe into Texas and took on a fun southwestern flavor:

Others have found a way to fit it into a folk motif. I actually met this next band a couple years ago. The Groanbox Boys:

Then there’s the mAstor of tango, Piazzolla! He plays the bandaneon (an instrument that sounds roughly the same but is constructed slightly differently). This is a more complicated song from a jazz festival:

Though Piazzolla is gone, there are modern virtuosos as well. The Motion Trio would be comfortable at any concert hall. I highly recommend visiting their site and listening to some of their music.

And if southwestern, folk, romantic tango, or ‘refined’ concert music won’t suit you, it can even be played by kick-some-ass rock bands, as it was by the Dropkick Murphys in a song featured in best picture, the Departed:

Not to mention that it’s also been played in a [marching] band:

an accordion player in the Incomparable LSJUMB (photo credit Robby Beyers, 11/3/07)

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