June Feature: Accordion Awareness Month

May 31, 2013

Throughout the month of June, Global Village scours the planet for remarkable and diverse squeezebox sounds.

Say what you will about the accordion (and many have said things that we couldn’t say on the radio), it is portable, an instant one-man band, and loud enough to be heard over the crowd at dance parties. Those characteristics helped propel the accordion and related free reed instruments (concertina, bandoneon, harmonica, melodica) around the world and into a many different styles of music.

Invented in Germany in the early 1800s (but, it’s a small world after all, and apparently it was inspired by the older Chinese instrument, the sheng), the accordion quickly became popular and before the century was over, the manufacture of accordions was in full swing. Then, as waves of European immigrants began to fan out to many different corners of the world, they took the instrument with them.

What you think of when you hear the word 'accordion' -- 

Myron Florin - Lady of Spain:

Avant accordionist Guy Klucevsek with a piece dedicated to Kepa Junkera:

Today the accordion can be found virtually everywhere and appears in everything from a wide array of traditional styles around the globe to classical, contemporary, and avant-garde jazz settings. Styles that incorporate the accordion include tango, polka, forro, zydeco, tarantella, conjunto and more. Acclaimed players include Astor Piazzolla, Riccardo Tesi, Kepa Junkera, Guy Klucevsek, Clifton Chenier, and Flaco Jimenez, along with folks you never knew played the accordion like John Lennon, Richard Nixon, James Stewart, Charlie Chaplin, Charles Dickens and Mahatma Gandhi.

Guy Klucevsek saluted in his performance by Kepa Junkera:

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