MP3 Monday: Arizona Accordion Club

Hot Original Polkas by the Arizona Accordion ClubOne of the reasons we created our directory was to showcase the numerous accordion clubs across the country working tirelessly to promote our favorite instrument. A great example is the Arizona Accordion Club who, in addition to their monthly meetings, hold an annual festival and even sponsor scholarships for young accordionists.

This year, the club has gone even further with the release of Hot Original Polkas, an album of — you guessed it — original polkas written and performed by members of the club. Each polka has its own flavor and the players range in age from 19 to 80+. The album kicks off with this track written by club member John Smoltz. (Not the baseball player, though he used to play the accordion, too!)

Introducing the Let’s Polka Directory

Every day, we receive emails from people looking for an accordion teacher, a repair shop, or an accordion club in their area. We try to answer these questions as best we can — usually with information cobbled together from abandoned pages across the web — but it’d be much easier if there was a thorough, up-to-date, searchable list we could point people towards.

So today, we’re launching the Let’s Polka accordion directory, a catalog of accordion teachers, repair shops, and clubs across North America. Just visit the directory, type in your city, hit “Go!”, and you’ll see a list of accordion resources in your immediate area. You can also browse each category — teachers, shops, and clubs — individually.

We’ve gone ahead and added a bunch of listings already, but we know there are a lot more out there. That’s where you come in! If you want to add (or edit) a listing in our directory, just contact us and we’ll take care of the rest. (Listings are entirely free.) We know there are a lot of clubs and teachers that don’t have websites that we’ve probably missed, so hopefully we can work together to get them publicized online.

We have a lot of ideas for improving and expanding the directory, but we hope this is a useful first step towards making this information more readily available. If you have any questions or suggestions, drop us a line or leave a comment on this post. Happy searching!

Alaska Button Box Gang

I don’t normally condone gangs — though I do enjoy the choreography of the Sharks and Jets — but I’ve finally found a gang I can fully support: the Alaska Button Box Gang.

Based in Anchorage, this dedicated group of button box enthusiasts performs regularly for non-profits and schools, as well as at the Anchorage Saturday Market, the library and other organizations and occasions. The gang has recorded three albums and their repertoire includes traditional Slovenian, German and Polish accordion music as well as songs written by members of the group. They also have occasional rumbles with a rival piano accordion gang from Juneau.

Fellow Alaskans should check the gang’s website for upcoming performances, while those of us in the lower 48 can look forward to their appearance at next summer’s SNPJ Slovenefest in Enon Valley, PA.

The Bloomington, Indiana Accordion Scene

Drawing from the Hoosier Squeeze siteThere are only a handful of American cities that you could honestly call “accordion hotspots”; places like Cleveland, San Antonio, or Lafayette, for example. But if Hoosier Squeeze is any indication, the number might be on the rise.

Founded in 2000, Hoosier Squeeze is a group of passionate accordionists in the Bloomington, Indiana area whose goal is to “promote the current renaissance of the sublime accordion.”

Led by Sophia Travis (who moonlights as President of the Monroe County Council) and made up of accordionists of all skill levels, the group meets regularly to play and share music. They’ve performed at numerous community events and even sponsored an accordion workshop last month at Bloomington’s annual Lotus World Music and Arts Festival.

With Hoosier Squeeze’s help, it sounds like Bloomington is well on its way to becoming one of those famous accordion hotspots…