The Bobby Jones Mystery

Bobby JonesA few months ago, we wrote about the sudden disappearance of Bobby Jones, popular polka DJ and accordionist for the Bobby Jones Czech Band. Since then, we’ve received numerous emails and comments from friends and fans of Bobby who remember the joy and music he brought to their lives.

As KHOU in Houston reported this week, though, we’re still no closer to finding out what happened to Bobby. Tire tracks and his license plate were found on the banks of the Colorado River in Wharton shortly after his disappearance, but an extensive search has failed to turn up his vehicle. Was it an accident? Was it suicide? Or is he still alive and somewhere else entirely? Fans have been frustrated by the lack of answers, but in some ways, it seems like the mystery has only served to further build the legend of Bobby Jones.

This Week: International Accordion Festival

Among the events on this week’s accordion calendar, there’s one that stands out: the 2007 International Accordion Festival in San Antonio, TX. Held just a few blocks from the Alamo, this fantastic festival boasts two full days of concerts, workshops (led by many of the performers), open mike sessions, and once-in-a-lifetime accordion jams. It kicks off on Friday night with a concert featuring Santiago Jiménez Jr., Chango Spasiuk, and Brandan (an ensemble from the Canary Islands).

One of the great things about this festival is the wide variety of genres it encompasses. Styles represented this year range from Irish (Johnny B. Connolly) to Creole (Ed Poullard and Lawrence Ardoin) to Quebecois (Yves Lambert) to Bulgarian (Yuri Yunakov) to rock (Those Darn Accordions) and everything in-between. There are some interesting workshops on tap, as well, including “Cowboys and Accordions”, “Native American Accordions”, and “Accordions, Rocked Up.”

Best of all, admission is free! I know some of our readers will be attending this year’s festival; we’re looking forward to hearing your reports. Take lots of photos (and videos) too!

Quick Links: October 8, 2007

  • Veronique Chevalier’s “Vampire Surprise”
    Just in time for Halloween, Veronique Chevalier has written a spooky new accordion tune called “Vampire Surprise” with composer Jann Castor. Veronique’s working on a Halloween-themed accordion compilation for next year called Polka Haunt Us.
  • YouTube: Aonghas Anderson performing “La Mariposita”
    Excellent performance of Pietro Frosini’s “La Mariposita” by Rutherford College student Aonghas Anderson.
  • Flickr: Squeeze Me group
    A new Flickr group devoted to photos of accordions of all shapes, types, and sizes. Check out some of the “spotlight shots” on the group’s home page.

Torch Passed at Art’s Concertina Bar

Art AltenburgArt’s Concertina Bar in Milwaukee is a polka institution. Billed as the “only Concertina Bar in the U.S.A.,” the walls are lined with concertinas and memorabilia, there are live bands and dances every weekend, and the affable Art Altenburg presides over it all, posing for photos with tourists and squeezing out the occasional tune on the concertina.

Art’s been trying to sell his business, though, so he can spend more time with his ailing mother. After a long search, he’s finally found a buyer: Andy Kochanski is taking over later this month and, thankfully, will be keeping the music that Art’s place is known for alive. Art’s Concertina Bar will become Kochanski’s Concertina Beer Hall and Andy will even allow accordions in (Art had strict concertina-only rules):

“It’s open to people and musicians who just love polka music… I’m going to do as much as I can for the polka community.”

Meanwhile, the 78-year-old Art still has dreams of his own to pursue:

“I’ll probably go chasing women, do a little playing, and do a little traveling.”

Sounds like a plan to me! There’s a farewell party for Art planned for next Saturday night, October 13, on his last night in business. Get there early and roll out the barrel one more time with a polka legend.

Want to Work for Hohner?

Accordion maker Hohner is looking for an “Accordion Product Manager” to be responsible for “all aspects of sales, promotion, product development and marketing in the US.” Sounds like a great opportunity to help drive the product strategy for one of the biggest accordion manufacturers in the world. The position is based in Richmond, VA. Check out the full job description and then put in your two week’s notice.

[Found via Accordion USA News]

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