Accordion Crimes Radio

If you’ve jumped on the podcast bandwagon and are looking for a good accordion show, check out Accordion Crimes Radio (not related to Annie Proulx’s book, Accordion Crimes). Hosted by Portland accordionist Mike Danner of Trashcan Joe, each episode features Mike sitting down with a different musician, chatting and recording a bunch of songs (with Mike on accordion). The music’s great and the attitude is laid-back — like a front porch jam session. You can listen and subscribe through Mike’s site or via iTunes.

Dick Contino on Chicago TV

Watch out ladies, Dick Contino, the “world’s most handsome accordion player,” is on the prowl. Contino performed in Chicago last night and the local CBS affiliate did a segment on him titled “Accordion-Playing Hunk Pushes The Right Buttons”. Seriously. Watch the accompanying video and listen to Dick talk about being an original “American Idol” and how Colonel Tom Parker used his moves to coach Elvis.

In related Dick Contino news, Anna and I recently received a VHS copy of his movie, “Daddy-O”, as a wedding gift. That’s right — the same film that was once featured, and mocked mercilessly, on Mystery Science Theater 3000. Needless to say, as soon as we can manage to sit through the whole thing, we’ll post our review here.

NPR Gets Accordion-Aware

Even NPR can’t help getting excited about National Accordion Awareness Month. There was a segment on it yesterday during “All Things Considered,” featuring some friendly banter between Tom Torriglia and Gary Sredzienski (whose weekly polka radio show was profiled here previously). They talked about history, people’s reactions to the instrument, and their shared goal of bringing joy to people through the accordion. Check out the full clip here:

Dan Chouinard’s Mambo Italiano

Accordionist Dan Chouinard is hosting “Mambo Italiano”, an exploration of the Italian roots of American popular music, tomorrow (Saturday) night at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, MN. Inspired by the summer Chouinard spent biking across Europe with his accordion, the show features Italian music ranging from peasant songs and opera to postwar hits from the likes of Louis Prima, Antonio Bennett and Concetta Francis. Even if you can’t make it to the show, there’s an excellent preview and interview with some of the performers on the Minnesota Public Radio website. You can also read a review of “Cafe Europa”, a similar (but more autobiographical) show that Chouinard put on last year.

Guy Klucevsek Interview

Following up on our Vancouver Squeezefest post, I found a new interview with Guy Klucevsek where he discusses his compositions, his work as part of the Accordion Tribe, and his upcoming performances this weekend at the big ‘Fest. He mentions why he thinks people are continually drawn to the accordion’s unique sound:

“I think it has sort of a connection with memory and nostalgia and melancholy… and, unfortunately, melancholy is something that never seems to go out of style. We always seem to have more and more occasions to be melancholy, the way the world is going.”

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Don’t Shoot the Accordion Player

This brief interview with Matt Hensley, the accordion player for punk/Irish band Flogging Molly, is worth reading just for his story of nearly being shot for playing the accordion:

“I was in an English pub, and this band that was playing saw that I had an accordion with me and wanted to see what it sounded like. So we went out to the parking lot after the pub was closed, and I was a little intoxicated, but I started playing some music. Well, this guy comes out of I don’t know where, in his underpants, and he’s tapping my accordion… and he’s half-naked, telling me to shut it. So I tell him to stick it… [and] he turned around and he had a 9 mm in his hand. I thought he was poking me with his finger, but I couldn’t see because the accordion is like being pregnant. It sticks way out over me, and I couldn’t see it, but he was pointing a gun at me. Had I known, I would have shut up and told him, ‘Yes, sir.'”

Just something to keep in mind next time someone pokes you in your “bellows blind spot.”

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