Kids Love Accordions

After my last post about our most common email, I thought I’d highlight a cute email we received from a mother whose young sons have recently fallen in love with the accordion:

“My four and seven year old sons enjoy going to Oktoberfests and listening to the music, especially the accordion. We even purchased a CD at the last one and they listen to it everyday. Needless to say, they both put accordions on their Christmas lists. My four year old has decided he wants an accordion-themed party for his birthday; I am going to have a challenge finding accordion decor/favors, but will have fun searching! They also love dancing to polka music. They recently had friends over on a playdate and played polka music for them — it was pretty funny. It is priceless to see what interests your children develop!”

Sounds like these kids are on the right track. Do you have a young accordion aficionado in your family? Leave a comment and tell us an inspirational tale of your squeezebox lovin’ youngster.

How Much Is My Accordion Worth?

Far and away, the most common email we receive is from someone who’s found or inherited an old accordion — often stashed away in a closet or garage — who wants to know how much it’s worth. I’ve probably answered this question a hundred times, a hundred different ways. But now I save myself the trouble and refer them to this handy guide on Jeroen Nijhof’s excellent Accordion Links site. Jeroen’s guide covers the basics (condition, brand, size) along with two pieces of advice I often give: that “vintage” doesn’t mean much unless it’s playable (or festooned with diamonds) and it’s only worth what someone will pay for it.

With that in mind, I should really ask: “Why sell this accordion when you can learn to play it?” Instead of dumping it at a garage sale for a few bucks, you could have countless hours of enjoyment by playing cumbias or mazurkas on your porch. Maybe the next time someone inquires about their grandfather’s old accordion, I’ll just reply with a list of accordion teachers in their area…

Accordions Are Sexy (and We Have Proof)

2009 Bay Area Accordion Babes Pin-Up CalendarTrying to fight that tired old stereotype that accordions are just for old men with lederhosen? The 2009 Bay Area Accordion Babes Pin-Up Calendar should do a thing or two to change that perception. This glossy, full-color calendar features stylized pin-up shots of 15 local accordion babes including Tara Linda, (Mad) Maggie Martin, Skyler Fell, and more. The calendar will sell for $20 and includes a companion CD with tracks by many of the ladies featured in the calendar. It’s the perfect holiday stocking stuffer.

You can order the calendar directly from one of the Accordion Babes’ sites listed below, or from Smythe’s Accordion Center:

You can get your first glimpse of the calendar this Thursday at the Wild Women of the Accordion show at Cafe du Nord in San Francisco. Pin-up girls Big Lou (with her Polka Casserole), Isabel Douglass (with Kugelplex), and Renee de la Prade (who organized the calendar) will all be performing. For those who can’t make it, here are some photos to whet your appetite:

Sansa Asylum  Amber Lee

Isabel Douglass

Election ’08: Palin Polka & Obama Zydeco

Back in February, we noted how both the Clinton and Obama campaigns courted Hispanic voters in Texas through cumbia and mariachi tunes. In the wake of last week’s presidential election, we found a couple of grassroots, accordion-fueled videos paying homage to presidential and vice presidential candidates alike.

First up is the “I’m in Love with Sarah Palin Polka”, from a band called “Joe and the Plumbers.” Led by Joe Rodgers — who some may recognize from posts on — the band uses classic Cleveland-style polka instrumentation including the accordion, banjo, and plunger:

On a more serious note, a group of Zydeco musicans came together in Opelousas, Louisiana, to record “Oui, On Peut” (“Yes, We Can”) — a tribute to Barack Obama (and his campaign slogan). The all-star band includes Jeffrey Broussard (of the Creole Cowboys) on accordion: