Accordion Gift Guide 2009

Maybe you braved the crowds on Black Friday. Or maybe you stayed home and ate Thanksgiving leftovers. Either way, Christmas is less than a month away and you still need a gift for that accordion lover in your life. Don’t worry, we’re here to help with our annual Accordion Gift Guide — a roundup of books, music, videos, and other goodies that will look great in any accordion player’s Christmas stocking.

The new Roland FR-7x V-Accordion has had tech-savvy accordionists drooling since its introduction a few months ago. Improving on its predecessor, the already-popular FR-7, the new model features more sounds, faster response and higher sensitivity, and a USB port for playback and recording.

Tedrow ConcertinaPrefer the feel and sound of a classic, acoustic instrument? Check out the handmade concertinas built by Bob Tedrow of Homewood Music. More than just instruments, Bob’s concertinas are practically works of art, proudly billed as “150 years behind the times.” The waiting list for his concertinas is currently several months long, so act now if you want one by next Christmas.

There’s a good chance, though, you’re shopping for someone who already has an accordion and what they really need is a lesson or two. (Not that you’d ever say that out loud…) A pair of Texas accordion teachers have great accordion lesson DVDs: for piano accordionists, try Debra Peters’ blues/rock accordion DVDs, while button accordionists will enjoy Sheila Lee’s DVD for beginners playing the GCF button accordion. I haven’t seen the full video yet, but I’ve also been impressed by clips of British accordionist Murray Grainger’s new DVD, Accordion: Mastering the Art.

Brave Combo: Christmas PresentFor holiday music, accordion-style, Brave Combo has just released a live holiday album called Christmas Present, a nice companion to their earlier releases Holiday! and It’s Christmas, Man. Their polka arrangement of “Must Be Santa” was borrowed by Bob Dylan for his new Christmas album, Christmas Heart, which features the accordion playing of Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo.

Lighting a menorah instead of a Christmas tree? Woody Guthrie’s Happy Joyous Hanukkah, an album of Guthrie’s lyrics put to music by the Klezmatics, is a couple years old but still a great choice for a boisterous Hanukkah celebration.

The holidays are fun, but they can be stressful, too; after weeks of shopping, traveling, and dealing with family, who hasn’t felt like locking themselves in the bedroom with a good book? We’ve got options there, too. Blair Kilpatrick’s Accordion Dreams, is a heartwarming tale of her transformative obsession with Cajun and Creole music. For a more historical perspective, Ryan Brasseaux’s Cajun Breakdown is one of the most thoroughly researched histories of Cajun music ever published.

Mi Música shirtNeed something to wear when you aren’t carrying an accordion? In addition to producing fantastic collections of folk music from around the world, Smithsonian Folkways has neat t-shirts, too, including this accordion-themed design. There are some great shirts on Etsy, too — this stenciled accordion shirt and the cheeky “Instruments of War”, which shows an accordion amidst a sea of weapons (club, axe, banjo).

One of our favorite products of the past year is Elena Erber’s nifty accordion backstraps. Anna and I have been using them for a few months now and they’re comfortable, easy to adjust and great for your back. We’re also big fans of the annual Bay Area Accordion Babes Pin-Up calendar. It’s accompanied by a CD of folk, jazz, gypsy, goth, and pop accordion, just in case the eye candy isn’t enough for you.

Want more ideas? Check out our 2008 Accordion Gift Guide or browse our other shopping-related posts. And if you find other great accordion-related gifts out there, leave a comment and let us know!

Silent Kimbly Polka Dot T-Shirt

Polka DotWe’ve always been suckers for accordion and polka-themed clothing, so this t-shirt is right up our alley. Taken from the online comic Silent Kimbly — a treasure trove of visual puns and silly wordplay — it could be the perfect shirt for all those summer polka parties you’ll be attending.

2008 Accordion Gift Guide

Still looking for that perfect holiday gift? Want to help our nation’s beleaguered retailers and stimulate the economy? Never fear: Let’s Polka’s 2008 Accordion Gift Guide is here! We’ve got music, books, DVDs, and more for the accordion aficionados on your list — and for those folks you’re looking to convert to the squeezin’ side.

Another Clever Accordion Shirt

In honor of Accordion Awareness Month, is featuring an accordion t-shirt which reads “Everything’s going accordion to plan!” for $15. From the site:

“Wear this shirt: every day during National Accordion Awareness Month, this June and every June. Don’t wear this shirt: while you’re playing accordion. Then nobody’ll see that hilarious pun.”

Hilarious indeed. Get yours before they’re sold out!

(Thanks for the heads up, Robyn!)

Squeeze Me

Squeeze Me - Accordion OnesieChris and I have had babies on the brain lately. There’s so much cool stuff out there for kids and babies nowadays! We love these “Squeeze Me” onesies featuring our favorite instrument on the front. Gotta get the kids interested in accordions young, I always say. And these onesies are extra cool because they’re made with organic cotton. This is definitely the must-have fashion item for the new baby in your life.

If you missed them the first time, more accordion-related clothing products that we’ve come across and posted about can be found here in our clothing category.

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Shirts for Squeezebox Fans

We’re hoping to have some Let’s Polka shirts available in time for the holidays but, in the meantime, here are a few shirts for the accordionist looking to spruce up their wardrobe:

Of course, the problem with these clever shirts is that no one can see them if you’re wearing an accordion, too. I guess the perfect shirt for an accordionist would be one with the design printed on the back.

Mumlers Accordion Dog T-Shirt

Mumlers T-Shirt Accordions are clearly on the minds of hip t-shirt designers these days. One of my coworkers pointed me towards this unique accordion dog shirt ($16) for San Jose indie band, The Mumlers. In addition to peddling cute shirts, they play catchy, folky tunes on unlikely instruments such as the toy piano, stand-up bass, french horn and, of course, accordion.

Accordion T-Shirt at Threadless

Organ Deer by Daniel LimNeed some hip threads to wear to those summer accordion festivals we mentioned earlier?

The folks at Threadless have answered the call with a quirky new shirt called Deer Organ (designed by Daniel Lim), which depicts a young accordionist serenading a couple of deer. (Seems like accordions and deer, or at least accordion-playing reindeer, are a popular T-shirt theme these days.)

It’s definitely a conversation starter; and perhaps, finally a worthy replacement for that tattered “Myron Floren: 1982 World Tour” shirt you’re still wearing…

What Did Squeezebox Santa Bring You?

Chris and I had a great holiday and received some awesome accordion-related presents! Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Custom-Made Folding Accordion Stands
    Handmade by my dad, the expert craftsman! One of the stands is pictured here. Using wood from an old futon frame, he designed two identical stands from pictures of other accordion stands I found online.
  • Big Lou's Polka Casserole CDBig Lou’s Polka Casserole CD
    Big Lou’s first album is a classic and belongs in every accordion lover’s collection!
  • Julius and Friends Slippers
    Check out these awesome Paul Frank slippers that Karla gave me. The slipper on the left shows Julius the monkey playing the accordion to a chicken wearing lederhosen. These slippers are perfect for your favorite bird-lovin’, accordion playin’ friends! You can find them online at Tilly’s.
  • The Weird Al Show - The Complete Series (DVD)The Weird Al Show – The Complete Series DVD
    A must for every Weird Al fan, this complete series also comes with an excellent commentary track.

Did you get any cool accordion-related goodies this holiday season? Leave us a comment and tell us about them!

2006 Accordion Gift Guide

Jon considers giving Liz accordion lessons for Christmas

It can be tough to shop for an accordion lover. You won’t find a custom-made Petosa accordion at Wal-Mart, Martha Stewart hasn’t published a magazine on making your own accordion straps, and most music stores don’t carry much beyond The Best of Lawrence Welk.

Luckily, Let’s Polka is here to help. We’ve put together our 2006 Accordion Gift Guide — gift ideas for the budding accordionist (or enthusiast) on your holiday list. And everything on our list is $50 or less (usually much less), so there’s money leftover for lessons.

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