Last night’s episode of the Accordion Noir Radio show is here:
It’s Rowan’s favourite tunes that we played throughout 2013. Nice set, too bad Rowan couldn’t be there because he was doing his part to keep our medical equipment clean. Thanks Rowan!
I’m sure it’s been keeping you up nights like it has me, but our AccordionNoir.org site where we hosted the first five years of our Accordion Noir radio show has been broken for more than a year. I don’t know why we haven’t been posting our playlists here on this site as a workaround before this. But here’s a belated start. The shows are hosted for a limited time only on the CoopRadio.org website. You can get the podcast too, but it won’t have the playlist attached. (I think they used to do that). Maybe we’ll get it fixed eventually, that’d be swell.
* Charles Péguri – Allégresse – Accordeon 1913-1941 (Disc 1) – (1920-something?) – http://www.fremeaux.com/
* Urban Trad – Sanomi – Rowan’s Eurovision Quest (2003) – Belgium –
* Fiamma Fumana – The Blackbird – Home (2003) – Italy – http://www.fiamma.org/onda.cfm
* Ernie Felice Quartet – Oodles of Boodle and Batches of Scratch – Capitol 78 (1948) – – Sounds like the Ink Spots. – http://www.erniefelice.com
* Smokey Rogers – I Let My Wife Support Me – from Kevin Coffey’s collection (1946) – Los Angeles, California, USA – (Pedro DePaul, acc. Playing with Rogers in Tex Williams’ Western Caravan at the time.)
* Aurélia – Les lucioles – Hypnogol, Journal d’un capitaine (2008) – Belgium – http://www.homerecords.be/
* Koza Mostra & Agathon Iakovidis – Alcohol Is Free – Rowan’s Eurovision Quest (2013) – Greece –
* Sinister Luck Ensemble – The Black Pool – Anniversary (2002) – Chicago, USA – http://www.sinisterluck.com/
* El Gran Silencio – Cumbia planeta – Comunicaflow (Underground) (0) – Monterrey, Nuevo León, México – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Gran_Silencio
* The Toppers – Mr. Aristocrat – from Kevin Coffey’s collection (1939) – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA – (Joe Spata, acc. With Joe Giordano, electric fiddle.)
* Jelena Milojevic – Scarlatti Sonata in D Major – (0) – Victoria, BC, Canada, Croatia – http://www.myspace.com/jelenamilojevic
* Koby Israelite – Dance of the Idiots – Dance of the Idiots (2003) – Isreal/London – http://kobyisraelite.com/ Quotes “The Jetsons” (best TV theme song ever) at about 5:20.
* Ewan MacColl And Peggy Seeger – Ladybird – Kilroy was Here (1980) – UK –
* La Nueva Guardia – Mimi Pinson – El Melancolico Suenho del Ninho (2008) – Argentina – http://www.pueblonuevo.cl
Watching old Star Trek with my daughters, because I must inculcate them with the fact that William Shatner is the only Captain. I can’t get away from it, there’s an accordion. I long ago learned, much to my disbelief, that Klingons play concertinas. Now there’s a much less impressive little cameo by a weird old flutina/toy hanging in the shop window where the ferrel kids in Episode 8, “Miri” hang out. They don’t play it or anything, but there you go.
Did anybody else notice that on that episode, they discover a planet that looks exactly like earth and then nobody mentions it again? It’s like, “This is an allegory!” that time forgot. Somewhere out there in Star Trek-land there’s a duplicate Earth waiting for resolution.
Also, in the spirit of the space age and advance technology:
I signed up for twitter to recommend this article by Franz Nicolay about the life of a rockstar accordionist: http://t.co/wh4D0fpgVd
— Bruce Triggs (@AccordionBruce) November 9, 2013
“I’ve got to answer for my instrument every time I strap it on.” Franz Nicolay,
When you’re busking, you really only need a three-song, slam-dunk set, maximum, since your audience is recycling every ten minutes. Playing a restaurant is different only in the sense that instead of physically leaving they’re simply totally indifferent.
I suppose the Klingons know how to deal with a tough crowd when they need to. If you can track it down, the scene where they play the concertina in the star-ship bar is worth a few minutes.
Geoff Berner, Vancouver’s klezmer-punk songwriter-superstar is becoming a novelist this week. He was a guest on the Accordion Noir radio show last night and we talked about his book Festival Man, he also performed some unreleased songs you can’t hear anywhere else, and there was a digression into the history of cultural appropriation, blackface minstrels premiering the accordion in America in the 1840s, Slavic bluegrass music, and the commercial origins of much of what’s thought of as purely “traditional.” Whew! And that was just one digression. Another was about how to get Geoff into Klezkamp, which would be good.
Geoff’s releasing his novel, Festival Man this Saturday Oct 12 at Pulp Fiction Books in Vancouver (and then a bunch of other places around the world), so he’s going to be a published author as well as an exceptional song-writer. Festival Man is told in the words of Campbell Ouiniette, an epic small-time Canadian band manager telling his own account of events that led up to an unspoken disaster at an unnamed folk-festival in Calgary. He writes while holed-up, injured, in an abandoned barn stocked with liquor, drugs, and Alberta beef jerky, awaiting retribution from creditors, the law, and the bands he was supposed to be managing, ”It should run no more than four or five pages,” but there are digressions.
Have you ever seen Geoff Berner perform? His records only cover about half the act. They have the songs, split between dark singer-songwriter numbers with gutter-accordion breathing new life into guitar stereotypes, and higher volume klezmer-punk with his three-piece band and electronic/hip-hop/world-music/mysterious guests. When he performs live though, he frames the songs with stories that meander across the globe but always come back around to the song, and the band comes in on beat. You should be on Geoff’s email list. He sends out tour dates for places you will never go, but you also get more of these digressions, it’s a theme. Riots in Norway, Nazis in France, pleasant border guards everywhere, and how Canada tried to murder him twice (freezing to death and overdose, but not the kind that makes the news).
Where was I? Oh yeah, Geoff has a new book out. It’s not too big, which is nice if you have a short attention span, or if the writer (within the story) might be facing arrest at any time. Somebody says on the cover you could read it on a road-trip. You could read it anywhere and feel good about yourself because you’re probably a pleasant person compared to the main-character. Every step he takes in his band manager/promoter dealings lets you know that whatever conclusion he’s trying to “shed his own light on” it’s not going to be better than the catalog of sleazy business revealed along the way. Wherever he ends up, it’s going to fail miserably for all involved. His side of things does almost nothing to exonerate him. But you do see him grow from a high-school kid setting up his first punk show (background digression, you know?) to this mysterious cataclysm that leads him to write his jerky and whisky-fed account. It ends up humanizing this outragious industry archetype.
And did I say, it’s funny? It’s a little bit like Hunter Thompson writing about the music industry and drugs and stuff rather than Richard Nixon’s re-election campaign and drugs and stuff. Except Thompson wrote as a spectator, Berner gives us the voice of one of the actors themselves. It’s unnervingly obvious that Berner speaks with the authority of real “this actually happened to my band” stories about terrible people you hope never to deal with. Read this and laugh, and hope it never happens to you. When is the movie coming out?
From the narrator, band-manager Campbell Ouiniette, as interpreted by Geoff Berner:
Here’s how to make a festival:
You gather thousands of people together in a place that’s usually not considered fit for human habitation, like a farmer’s field, or a racetrack, and then those people proceed to lay waste to the land and themselves for about two-to-three days or more. By the end, the people are exhausted, ravaged by the forces of nature and the forces of booze and drugs, and the land is a churned-up wound full of garbage, piss, and shit. People die, people are conceived, marriages begin to collapse. And there’s music!
Then the narrator goes on the describe how it’s all worthwhile because of the music, and maybe that’s the theme of the book. Even with the often nightmarish reality of the music industry, there’s still this mystery that is the music itself. How does this ugly thing produce this beautiful thing? Well pretend that’s a segue, because Geoff has released a musical album that comes free with the book. (You download it with a secret-code, like the kids do now.) The record has a a bunch of Geoff’s songs done by other artists. It’s like a little festival where everybody plays Geoff’s music, maybe it was like this in his head while he wrote the book. Weird.
Did I mention that Geoff is a great songwriter? Like great as in famous Canadian singer-songwriter great. There’s a few of those. Geoff’s like that. On the record a grade 5-6 class does a group sing-along version of his song Iron Grey, a favourite of mine. It is very strange to hear an elementary school music class, with marimba accompaniment clanking along with a bunch of kids singing this love song from a fugitive on the run from the law, or something.
Here’s his old video without the children. Isn’t that a pretty song? To hear the elementary school kids’ version, and the rest of the Festival Man covers, you’ll have to get the record and the book. So do.
Grey G. from the Vancouver Squeezebox Circle turned up an old accordion on Craigslist. As is often the case it was listed as “playable but could use work,” which usually means there’s a good chance the instrument would cost more to fix than to buy a new one. But then there’s ones where playability is trumped by historical curiosity. I’m quite happy to have picked it up for $175.
Yes, for the sixth year the Accordion Noir Festival will be this coming weekend in Vancouver, BC, Canada. If you’re nearby, you should come! If you’re far away, I hope you made travel plans to be nearby.
Here is the radio announcement for the Festival (click to listen at Co-op Radio’s site.) Next year we should make a little youtube video slideshow thing. That’d be fun. Read more…