Quick Links: July 18, 2007

  • Denver Post: Accordion Player Aided 6 Presidents
    Henry Kulbaski, a longtime Secret Service agent who played accordion at White House parties, passed away last month. (He once turned down LBJ’s request to play at his daughter’s wedding, saying he didn’t have time to master “The Yellow Rose of Texas.”)
  • NPR: Gypsy Punk Group Gogol Bordello, Live
    Hear Gogol Bordello live on NPR.org in a full concert webcast from Washington, D.C.’s 9:30 Club tonight. The show begins at approximately 10pm ET.

Quick Links: July 14, 2007

Quick Links: July 13, 2007

  • SPIN.com: Bowerbirds
    SPIN puts the spotlight on Bowerbirds, a trio of North Carolina “indie rock folkies.” Listen to “In Our Talons”, which SPIN describes as a “standout track, with its accordion-rich choruses and not-so-subtle message.”
  • Madonna uses Roland V-Accordion for Live Earth Concert
    Roland issues a press release on the use of their FR3 V-Accordion during the Madonna/Gogol Bordello duet at Live Earth. “Not only is this fantastic exposure for Roland, it is also a great advert for the accordion as an instrument in its own right.”

Quick Links: July 6, 2007

  • An Ode to the Squeezebox – The New York Sun
    “Forget the iPhone, China, and independents running for president. The next big thing is something else entirely: accordions.” In advance of this weekend’s Main Squeeze Accordion Festival, the New York Sun pays tribute to our favorite instrument.
  • Local musician dies, leaves legacy – The Monitor
    Pedro Ayala Jr. — son of conjunto pioneer Pedro Ayala and accordionist in Los Hermanos Ayala — died unexpectedly of a heart attack last weekend. He was 62.

Quick Links: June 25, 2007

  • SPIN.com: Great Lakes Myth Society
    SPIN’s Artist of the Day, Great Lakes Myth Society plays “Northern Rock” — smart folk-rock with hints of accordion, fiddle, and banjo. Their new record, “Compass Rose Bouquet”, comes out on July 10th.
  • The Buffalo News: Ruda’s Records is Closing
    After 57 years in business, Ruda’s Records in Buffalo is closing this Saturday. Ruda’s specialized in polka records and unique Polish items.
  • Polka band records live album – mlive.com
    “Cheap Trick made a live album at Budokan. The Doors did theirs at the Hollywood Bowl… Jeff Mleczko and DynaBrass, however, figured there was only one place to record a polka-music album live: the St. Stan’s Polish Festival in Bay City.”

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Quick Links: June 21, 2007

  • KEDA Radio Jalapeno
    One of the best conjunto stations in the country, San Antonio’s KEDA Radio Jalapeno (1540 AM) is now broadcasting online. Crank up the tunes!
  • Kimmo Pohjonen and Eric Echampard – Uumen – a RootsWorld review
    Review of the new album by Finnish avant-garde accordionist Kimmo Pohjonen and French drummer Eric Echampard. “With time, in earshot of [Pohjonen and Echampard], the audibly attuned will soon dismiss every tired accordion cliché.”

Quick Links: June 14, 2007

My Big Fat Accordion Wedding

Here’s the feel-good accordion story of the year: Toronto’s own “Accordion Guy”, Joey deVilla, answered a Craigslist ad from a couple who needed witnesses at their Toronto City Hall wedding ceremony. The result is a heartwarming tale of love, accordions, and the kindness of strangers — with a sweet solo accordion rendition of Fatboy Slim’s “Praise You” (see video) as the soundtrack.

Amidst all the coverage this story has gotten in blogs over the past couple days, I really like this inspirational quote that Joey posted on Metafilter:

“I would suggest that all of you find your ‘accordion’ — that thing that makes you try out life’s little detours — and use it to practice your own random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty. The rewards are astonishing.”

Great advice — even for those of us whose ‘accordion’ is, well, an accordion.

Quick Links: June 11, 2007

  • My Punk Heart: Polkaphobia | lawrence.com
    An inspiring story of overcoming polkaphobia in America’s heartland at the Sugar Creek Slavic Festival. “Despite our ignorance we had caught onto the key essence of polka: ridiculous, wreck-loose, unabashed fun.”
  • Brownsville accordionist brings home state title
    Juan Longoria Jr. won the Big Squeeze contest at the Accordion Kings and Queens Concert earlier this month. “I want the younger generation like myself to not forget their roots… we need to remember where this music comes from and keep it alive.”
  • Weird Monkey « Crazy Can be a Good Thing
    Cute story about a boy who won a radio station contest to meet Weird Al. He got front row seats, backstage passes, AND Al even signed his accordion. (Be sure to watch the video where Al tries to figure out the boy’s button accordion.)
  • Northern California Pirate Festival
    Arr! There’s a pirate festival in Vallejo this weekend, complete with maritime musicians & magicians, seafaring singers, pirate re-enactors, cannon battles, swordfighters, and crews of miscreants. Expect accordions and sea shanties. Much better than Pirate Master!

Quick Links: June 2, 2007

  • Registration Open for Camp AccordionLand 2007
    You can now register online for Camp AccordionLand, which takes place August 10-12 in Tilden Park in Berkeley, CA. Check the site for full class descriptions and instructor bios.
  • Accordion player casts a spell in Music in Time
    Rave review of Guy Klucevsek’s performance at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC last night. Klucevsek “demonstrated the almost mystical power of his instrument, the accordion.”

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