Quick Links: May 13, 2007

  • New York Post: Squeeze Play
    The Post talks to Walter Kuehr about the Main Squeeze Accordion Orchestra. “I had a dream that I would conduct an all-female accordion orchestra, and that the girls would wear pigtails and the music would be beautiful. It was the best dream I ever had.”
  • Rochester Democrat & Chronicle: They Might Be Giants
    Recap of Saturday’s TMBG show in Rochester. “Linnell’s accordion, which he unleashed like a bag of gypsy weasels on ‘Particle Man,’ is the kind of untraditional rock instrument that goes with They Might Be Giants’ untraditional take on pop culture.”

On the Edge With Kimmo Pohjonen

Kimmo PohjonenIf you prefer accordion music that doesn’t play by the rules, check out Paul Sullivan’s excellent biography of Finnish avant-garde/experimental accordionist Kimmo Pohjonen. Playing a 5-row chromatic accordion, Pohjonen uses electronic effects like samples and loops, as well as heavy doses of improvisation, to push his instrument into uncharted territory. In addition to his solo work, he has collaborated with percussionist/sampler Samuli Kosminen, the Kronos Quartet, and former King Crimson members Pat Mastelotto and Trey Gunn.

“Sometimes it can be a bit strange for people that an accordion player is doing the kind of stuff that I am doing. But I’m getting such good feedback… I hear comments like, ‘I have never liked accordion, and this is the first time that I’ve liked some accordion music.’ And that is the best comment that you can get.”

According to his site, Pohjonen’s mission is “to expand the capabilities, sound, performance, scope and experience of the accordion in many different settings to levels never before seen or heard.” Judge for yourself — here’s a video clip of Pohjonen performing solo in 2002:

Quick Links: May 12, 2007

  • Accordion Floyd: Comfortably Numb
    Polka Floyd doesn’t have a monopoly on Pink Floyd accordion covers; check out Domenic Amatucci’s (of “Accordion Beatles” fame) excellent solo accordion rendition of “Comfortably Numb”.
  • YouTube: Pingu Plays Accordion
    In this episode, Pingu the penguin plays the accordion — much to the annoyance of his family and friends. But after some lessons from Grandpa, his playing improves and suddenly he’s the center of attention (in a good way).

Quick Links: May 11, 2007

Flickr Find: Street Band in Madrid

Street Band, with three accordionistsStreet Band, uploaded by Fhoys

Love this photo of a street band busking in Madrid with not one, not two, but three accordionists. We definitely need some groups like this roaming the streets here in the US

Need more accordion? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or email.

Quick Links: May 9, 2007

Every day, I come across interesting accordion links — to bands, videos, photos, etc. — that I don’t have time to work into full-blown articles. Instead of hoarding these links (and then forgetting about them), I’m going to start posting them daily as “Quick Links”:

Let me know if you have any cool accordion-related links to share!

Accordions Aplenty at World Music Festival

Later this month, thousands of accordionists will head to Innsbruck, Austria for the 9th annual World Music Festival. This year’s festival focuses on the accordion and features performances from over 300 accordion orchestras and ensembles from around the world. Unfortunately, the only information I could find was either in German or badly-translated English (“Innsbruck will be overflowed!”), but there will also be a musical revue (written especially for the festival) on the accordion’s role in world music.

This Week in Accordion: Tejano Conjunto Festival

What’s on the accordion calendar this week?

  • Tejano Conjunto Festival (Thu-Sat in San Antonio, TX)
    One of the biggest and best conjunto festivals of the year takes place this weekend in Rosedale Park. The lineup is a “who’s who” of conjunto accordion legends: Mingo Saldivar, Flaco Jimenez, Joel Guzman, Eva Ybarra, Flavio Longoria… you get the idea. Don’t miss this one.
  • Billy McComiskey (Friday in New York, NY)
    Button box virtuoso (and Brooklyn native) Billy McComiskey performs at NYU with banjoist Peter Fitzgerald and keyboardist Matt Mulqueen.
  • Gator By The Bay (Sat-Sun in San Diego, CA)
    San Diego’s biggest Zydeco, Blues and Crawfish Festival features entertainment on three stages with huge wooden dance floors and bands like Jeffery Broussard and the Creole Cowboys, Brian Jack and the Zydeco Gamblers, and more.

As usual, if you have an accordion event in your area — polka, zydeco, rock, whatever — and it isn’t on our calendar yet, tell us about it!

Accordions Get Sexy at Jazz Fest

There was a great AP article today on accordions at the New Orleans Jazz Fest, calling accordions at the festival “popular, prolific and downright sexy.” Just listen to one female festival-goer’s description of Buckwheat Zydeco:

“He is so sexy… There is just something about a guy and a squeezebox.”

I swear, I did not make that quote up. The article pointed out that accordions weren’t confined to the cajun/zydeco stage, but that “they were showing up this year on the big stages and even in some of the big bands”, noting performances by Calexico and the New Orleans Klezmer Allstars. Sounds like this accordion thing might just be catching on…

Ramon Ayala, El Rey Del Acordeon

Ramon AyalaWhether your Cinco de Mayo plans involve joining the crowds at a local festival or simply enjoying a Corona at home, you’ll need a suitable soundtrack. Might I suggest something from the catalog of norteño accordion legend, Ramón Ayala?

Known as “El Rey del Acordeon”, Ayala is a superstar on both sides of the border and through his distinctive accordion playing and songwriting, has set the standard for norteño music. In his forty year career, he has led two of norteño’s most successful conjuntos: first, Los Relampagos Del Norte (“Lightning Bolts of the North”) with singer Cornelio Reyna, and his current group, Los Bravos del Norte.

Here’s a classic track off his greatest hits collection, Antologia de un Rey:

« Newer posts · Older posts »