Photo credit: wikimedia commons
You and I already knew this, of course, but The Atlantic has finally noticed that accordions are making a comeback… Accordions: So Hot Right Now
“I think in general people have felt a little bit braver about what kind of music they’re creating, and more interested in stepping outside of the realm of what pop or rock music is supposed to sound like.”
The owner of Petosa makes a good point in the article that the accordion is one of the “only instruments that’s basically found in every style of music throughout the world.” Truth be told, in most of those parts of the world, the accordion never really went away. So I suppose this “comeback” is mainly a United States phenomenon.
In any case, will we ever reach the levels of the accordion’s mid-century, pre-rock-and-roll heyday here in the States? When, as the article reminds us, “some towns had as many as four accordion schools in a couple of blocks”? We shall see…
Along the lines of the story on Alex Carozza I posted about previously, Inforum.com brings us a look at some other accordion die-hards: Dilworth man keeps accordions’ bellows breathing
I wasn’t around during the “accordion boom” when people like Dave Kolle were selling several dozen accordions a week and teaching a full roster of students. Must’ve been a heck of a time. But I’m glad to see people still keeping the torch alive as best they can. Like Linda Gylland, also featured in the article:
“They talk about how North Dakota is the No. 1 state in drinking alcohol because there’s nothing else to do,” she said. “I thought, ‘These people should throw the booze away, find some accordions, and start having some real fun.’ ”
Well, I don’t know about throwing all the booze away–drinking songs do make up an important part of the accordion repertoire, after all–but I like the rest of her idea!
I’m a huge fan of MOOCs (massive, open, online courses). So I’m especially excited about the handful of classes being offered for free on Coursera by one of my alma maters, Berklee College of Music.
The Introduction to Improvisation course, taught by legendary vibraphonist Gary Burton, looks particularly interesting. Improvisation is a valuable and rewarding skill, regardless of what style of music you typically play. If you’re a musician who currently doesn’t do much of it, this course should be right up your alley. Of course, there’s always something more to learn in the world of music, so I’d expect that those of you who are already experienced improvisers will still pick up a thing or two. (I’m also curious to see Burton’s approach to presenting a subject that isn’t always easy to teach.)
The course opens
Monday, April 22nd. I’m enrolled… maybe I’ll see you there!
Did I mention that it’s free?
UPDATE: The launch of the course has been delayed one week to Monday, April 29th.
They’ve just announced the workshop line-up for this year’s Leavenworth International Accordion Festival in June, and it looks pretty good!
I try to keep up with the news of the various conferences and festivals that pop up each year, even though I have yet to attend any of them. Leavenworth has always been at the top of my list because it just seems like so much laid-back fun. Heck, I’m a sucker for faux Bavarian villages, so I’d probably visit Leavenworth even without an accordion festival.
One of these years, when I have the dollars in the travel budget and the courage to fly commercial with an accordion, I’ll make it out there. (Something tells me the former will be easier to come up with than the latter.)
Main street, Leavenworth. Photo by David Morgan-Mar, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license