One Less Guitar, One More Accordion

If you think we work hard to promote the accordion, you should check out our Canadian cousins at Accordion Noir. They produce a weekly radio show devoted entirely to accordion music from around the world. They’ve also just created a great new bumper sticker to raise accordion awareness — one whose message may sound familiar to some bicyclists:

One Less Guitar

The stickers are narrow so they fit a bike’s tubes, but look equally fab on an accordion case, guitar case, hurdy-gurdy case… you name it. They’re currently available around Vancouver or you can email the guys to order one. The cost is just $1 and goes to support their awesome radio show, which is broadcast on CFRO Co-Op Radio (102.7 FM) in Vancouver. (You can also listen online and download episodes directly from their site.)

MP3 Monday: A Hawk and a Hacksaw

A Hawk and a Hacksaw: DelivranceAll too often, a musician will immerse themselves in a culture only to create work that’s a pale imitation of what inspired them in the first place. Not so for Albuquerque duo A Hawk and a Hacksaw — accordionist Jeremy Barnes and violinist Heather Trost — whose adventures in Eastern Europe have continued to produce inspired, passionate music that defies easy categorization. In 2007, the duo moved to Budapest to eat, breathe, and play with local musicians; the result is their new album, and most vibrant work to date, Délivrance. It’s a high-spirited stew where the mariachi and American folk of the duo’s homeland melds with the sounds of Hungary, Romania, Turkey, Greece, and more. The album’s opener, “Foni Tu Argile”, is a barn-burner in any language.

As an added bonus — let’s call it “MP3/Video Monday” — here’s a beautiful video for the song “The Man Who Sold His Beard” off Délivrance:

Korpiklaani’s Heavy Metal Accordion

Are you ready to rock? Hold on… ARE YOU READY TO ROCK???

One of our favorite Finnish metal bands — and yes, there’s more than one — Korpiklaani is back with a brand-new album. Korpiklaani plays metal, but with a folk twist; electric guitars and drums fight it out with violin, accordion, and woodwinds. The result is a happier, more upbeat metal than you might be used to. Check out the video for “Vodka” (sample lyric: “Drinking is good for you / And you will feel awesome”), the first single from their new album, Karkelo.

Building a Better (Accordion) Backstrap

Despite its many charms, the accordion can be a physically taxing instrument to play. Most accordion players I know have experienced some degree of back or shoulder pain during their playing careers. One simple, useful tip for alleviating back pain is to use a back strap — a small strap that connects the accordion’s two shoulder straps across your back. The back strap helps support your back, distribute and balance the accordion’s weight between your shoulders, and keep the accordion and shoulder straps in place.

Elena Erber had trouble finding an easy-to-use back strap that would fit on each of her four accordions. So, like any good entrepreneur, she scratched her own itch and started making accordion back straps, which she now sells online.

“I couldn’t find the same style strap again, only leather ones with buckles or hooks or other connection contraptions that didn’t look nearly as easy to operate as a nylon strap and a quick-release buckle, like on a back pack, that allows me to snug it up or loosen it with total ease while I’m wearing it. So I made a few — some for me and some for my friends… I enjoy the process of making them, sewing them, packing them up and sending them off, hoping someday to collect some stories about where they’ve been.”

Her back straps are $19.99 and you can buy them directly from her website or wherever fine accordion accessories are sold.

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