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Accordion Noir Radio playlist 2016-04-27: Arhoolie Hullabaloo

April 28, 2016

Arhoolie logo added to an Accordion

(Or, as Bruce called it, “Another Wednesday In April”.) Here we are again — another week, another episode of Accordion Noir Radio. We’ve just been crunching some numbers and as our 10th anniversary of first hitting the air is approaching, so is our 500th weekly episode! Needless to say, we’ve begun scheming for an appropriate way to celebrate these occasions.

Last night’s show was not one of those particular celebrations — instead, we were saying huzzah to the back catalogue of longstanding folk record label Arhoolie Records, home to many “niche” genres including a great deal of zydeco and Tejano music. (In keeping with our “one less guitar” mandate, we have updated their company logo.) You can hear a stream of the episode over here!

And now, for your entertainment, education and edification… the playlist!

* Trío San Antonio – Borracho Perdido – Arhoolie Records 40th Anniversary Collection: 1960 – 2000 – The Journey Of Chris Strachwitz [Disc 3] (1974) – San Antonio, Texas, USA
* Mayhemingways – Jenny Ran Away In The Mud – Hunter St. Blues (2015) – Peterborough, Ontario, Canada –
* Cavela Ortiz Y Brown Express – Besos Y Copas (Ranchera) – Arhoolie Records 40th Anniversary Collection: 1960 – 2000 – The Journey Of Chris Strachwitz [Disc 3] (1977) –
* Clifton Chenier – Louisiana Blues – Arhoolie Records 40th Anniversary Collection: 1960 – 2000 (1965) – Bogalusa, Louisiana, USA –
* Albert Chevalier – Bernadette Chere – Arhoolie Records 40th Anniversary Collection: 1960 – 2000 (1961)
* Dewey Balfa, Marc Savoy & D.L. Menard – En Bas Du Chêne Vert – Arhoolie Records 40th Anniversary Collection: 1960 – 2000 – The Journey Of Chris Strachwitz [Disc 3] (1976)
* Nathan Abshire – Calcasieu Waltz – Arhoolie Records 40th Anniversary Collection: 1960-2000 The Journey Of Chris Strachwitz [Disc 2] (1966)
* Octa Clark & Hector Duhon – Bosco Stomp – Arhoolie Records 40th Anniversary Collection: 1960-2000 The Journey Of Chris Strachwitz [Disc 4] (1981) – Lafayette, Louisiana, USA –

Strachwitz Frontera Collection of Mexican and Mexican American Recordings Book

And do check out the awesome Arhoolie Foundation’s Strachwitz Frontera Collection of Mexican and Mexican American Recordings

* Don Santiago Jiménez Sr. – Ay Te Dejo En San Antonio (Ranchera) – Arhoolie Records 40th Anniversary Collection: 1960 – 2000 – The Journey Of Chris Strachwitz [Disc 3] (1979)
* Flaco Jiménez – Gritenme Piedras Del Campo – Arhoolie Records 40th Anniversary Collection: 1960-2000 The Journey Of Chris Strachwitz [Disc 4] (1979)
* Santiago Jiménez Jr. – Negra Ausencia – Arhoolie Records 40th Anniversary Collection: 1960-2000 The Journey Of Chris Strachwitz [Disc 4] (1981)
* Daniel Thonon – Sambas Du Fleuve – Trafic D’influences (1997) – Quebec, Canada –
* The Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra – Wolfe Et Montcalm – Love. (2015) – Vancouver, BC, Canada –


Accordion Noir Radio playlist 2016-04-20: Vund-Driving

April 21, 2016


It’s been a while, but we think that it’s time to get back on the playlist wagon and help our weekly radio broadcasts / audio streams intercept a little Long Tail traffic by letting everyone know which bands and which songs we’re playing. So here, hot off the airwaves, is last night’s special, double-length Spring Member Drive episode of Accordion Noir Radio — streaming direct to you!

That link takes you to the first hour and this one, to the second!

* Bellowhead – Widow’s Curse – Matachin (2008) – England –
* Gato Libre – In Barcelona, In June – NOMAD (2006) – Japan –
* Matthew Barber & Jill Barber – Song To A Young Seagull – The Family Album (2016) – Nova Scotia, Canada –  Robbie Grunwald, acc.
* Jill Barber – Sous Le Ciel De Paris – Chansons (2013) – Halifax, Nova Scotia/Vancouver, BC, Canada –  Drew Jurecka, acc.
* Stas Venglevski – April – Seasons (2003) – Wisconsin, USA (and Russia) –
* Carson Sisters – saxophone accordion 1930s How Many? – from where? (0) –  –
* Jali Alagi Mbye – Mansaja – Ten Birds In The Woods . . . (2004) – Gambia, West Africa / Sweden  – Jali Alagi Mbye, kora / Roland Gottlow, acc 1,3,5
* Clifton Chenier – J’Veux Faire L’Amour A Toi – Frenchin’ The Boogie (1976) – Bogalusa, Louisiana, USA –
* Mayhemingways – Oldes Home Bum – Hunter St. Blues (2015) – Peterborough, Ontario, Canada  –
* The Three Suns – April Showers – Movin’ ‘n’ Groovin’ (1962) –  –
* Great Big Sea – Have A Cuppa Tea – Safe Upon The Shore (2010) – Newfoundland, Canada –
* Los Lobos – Mujer Ingrata – Tin Can Trust (2010) – Los Angeles, California, USA –
* Steve Jordan – Ojitos – Polkas Huapangos Y Redovas (0) – San Antonio, Texas, USA –
* Amira and Merima Kljuco – Kradem Ti Se – Zumra (2010) – Bosnia –  acc. Merima Kljuco
* Ernie Felice Quartet – April in Paris – Ernie Felice (3 CD Compilation) (0) – California, USA –
* New Victory Band – Harper’s Frolick/Bonny Kate – The Acoustic Folk Box (2) (1978) – UK – “Four Decades of the very best acourstic folk music from the British Isles.”
* Jason Webley and friends – My Love Left Me In April – Margaret (2014) – Everett, Washington, USA –
* Balún – La Bicicleta De Cristal – An EP Collection [EP 1 (2003)] (2006) – Puerto Rico –
* Beirut – 224 Scenic World – Gulag Orkestar (2006) – Brooklyn, New York (USA) –
* The Small Glories – Way Over Yonder – Wondrous Traveler (2016) – Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada –
* Fang – Mean Swans – Beast Pieces (2011) – Vancouver, BC, Canada –
* Tommy Williams – Springtime In Battersea – This Label Is Not Removable (A Celebration Of 25 Years Of Free Reed) [Disc 1] (1976) –  –
* Paperboys – Ray’s Ukranian Wine Cellar Polka/Nelli’s Afterthought – Molinos (1997) – Vancouver, BC, Canada –  Shannon Saunders, acc.

The upside-down accordion bounty hunt!

April 19, 2016

Hi, my name is Rowan, Bruce’s co-host (more of a “silent partner” these days) on Accordion Noir radio — but you may remember me better as the guy who accidentally taught himself to play accordion upside-down for his first year of instrument ownership.

Everyone knows what a piano accordion looks like, in general terms, but if you don’t play one, you may fail to observe such fine points as… which parts of the interface go on which side, or otherwise put… which side goes “up”.

It can then be considered a rite of passage or shibboleth of sorts to know the right and wrong way to wear an accordion — someone versed in its mysteries might be expected to portray it correctly 100% of the time, while an outsider might have only a 50% chance of stumbling upon the correct orientation.  (Flip a coin!  Heads, you win, tails, you… look like the only thing sadder than an accordion fan: a poseur accordion fan.)

Accordion Noir’s most stalwart supporter Lisan has become acutely attuned (since once you’re hip to it, you start seeing it everywhere) to incorrectly-worn squeezeboxes depicted in art and slung as props in photos inadvertently giving away that no actual accordionist was ever consulted regarding the calculated inclusion of our swinging-back-to-hip instrument in their painting, photoshoot or music video.  (Bruce can describe for you in great detail the related phenomenon of flutinas being used as decor in 1840s daguerreotypes to signify the cultured and erudite nature of the photo’s subject, who most likely did not know how to play a flutina or even which which way to hold it.  But that’s his wheelhouse, I’m just here doing the social media report.)

The other day, after a 1919 cubist accordion painting was shared, we debated over whether it was being held upside-down (or, you know, being subject to the flattening effects of the cubist aesthetic.)

Here’s where things get interesting:

The ground rules were simple: “No cheating – no flipped photos, no dupes.” Basically, we’re looking for new-to-us instances of accordions unwittingly presented in the unplayable reversed position, not for doctored photos or photos of upside-down accordionists. And so, with some skin in the game, we began accepting submissions. Within minutes, Betty Widerski rose to the occasion, with a slew of specimens (one doubly-wrong, labelled as a concertina) extracted from the watermarked stock photo mines (and one shamefully presented by the Encyclopedia Britannica, demonstrating how that paragon of factual knowledge has lowered its standards in the age of Google.

Shooting out of the gate like a squeezeboxy greyhound, that immediately brought our total to FIVE.

There was another near-miss, a very deliberate feat of acrobatic (wrestling, actually) inverted accordion use by Finland’s flying maniac of the squeezebox Kimmo Pohjonen, which doesn’t count… but is remarkable nonetheless!


Betty also found an amazing (well, terribly mundane if you don’t know what you’re looking at) music video, an upside-down accordion duet… but Bruce isn’t satisfied that it isn’t simply a horizontally-flipped video.

Our friend, Vancouver Squeezebox Circle host Alan Zisman of the Gram Partisans, totally unaware of the existence of this contest, shared with us the following piece of impossible art, illustrating the 2011 album “Maw” by the band HER NAME IS CALLA. (Is it impossible for a bird to play accordion? Maybe, but definitely if that accordion is upside-down!)


Our Newfie friend Mike got into the act, but again his spirited delivery fell afowl of our rigorous contest criteria, leaving us high and dry with a paltry SIX confirmed specimens out of our target of 10.

If we meet our target by the end of the Spring member drive (Sunday, April 24th) of our parent radio station CFRO Co-Op Community Radio, Lisan has pledged to increase her existing donation by $30. Will we make it? If we apply ourselves, it seems inevitable, but we’re not there yet! Who wants to sweeten the pot and heighten the stakes by matching Lisan’s wager? How about doubling it if we can find 20 inverted accordions?  (Update: See below!)

We will continue updating this post as more submissions come in. The suspense is unbearable!


Len Imbery of The Clanns shares with us “a little wine pouring foil I recently bought with a bottle of wine…”


It’s … a black cat?  Clearly it’s had a little too much wine, as it’s trying to play accordion upsidedown!  (An even trickier proposition with no straps to help hold it in place!)  That brings us 70% of the way to completion.  Can you help us find one of the THREE remaining naively-reversed depictions of accordions?


And the count marches on… our parent radio station, boosting our campaign, added a flipped accordion to our total completely by accident!  You see, there are more of these out there than you might guess!

This would bring us to eight out of 10, but there was another exciting development…


Big news from Tuesday night!

That’s right, folks — the pot has been sweetened, and to match it the bar has been raised!  Super-supporter Lisan has agreed to raise her donation to $50 from $30, and Accordion Noir host Bruce has agreed to match it!  To raise the bar to keep pace with these higher stakes, the number of upside-down accordions we’re searching for has been increased to fifteen, and we currently sit at eight — just over halfway there!  If we can find seven more, a hundred dollars of donations to our radio station is riding on it!


Wednesday was eerily quiet after the stakes had been raised, but Thursday brought us another solid submission:


Great work, Ben! Adding insult to injury, after showing “Weird” Al using an accordion upside-down (a weird too far even for Al) they also misspell the word “accordion”. Zero for two, Seth Macfarlane!

(But that brings Ben two for two: he found another submission for us, Bender from Futurama celebrating Robonnukah in a most unorthodox fashion — playing his accordion upside-down.)

This brings us to a total of 10 #upsidedownaccordion submissions from our enhanced, anticipated total of at least 15, resulting in $100 of support sent in to CFRO Co-Op Radio on behalf of Accordion Noir!  We’re two thirds of the way there — we just need five more by the end of April 24th! Can we do it?


Friday has been slow, with just one further submission, also from Ben:

Are we going to make it? We have 45 hours and 15 minutes left on the clock, and need to find 4 more oops-I-inverted-my-accordion-again pictures to make good on our wager and collect $100! That’s over 11 hours per picture! Surely we can manage that… right?


And Saturday is off with a bang! Mike Madigan graces us with a compelling shot whose flaws jump out at the viewer immediately:

And then Betty found us a humdinger! Five in one! (We will be counting it as one.) A regular suite of counter-instructional photographs! At the end the model is wearing it correctly in the group shot, presumably by some fluke accident.


That brings us to 13 found out of 15!  If we manage to dig up just one more today and one more tomorrow, we will triumphantly meet our extended contest goal!  Outstanding!


ONE more  Betty found two — and delivered us to our extended goal of 15 #upsidedownaccordion sightings!  First a piece of  Ed, Edd, n Eddy fanart on Deviantart (where I was expecting to find more amateurishly inverted accordions… but not so many Brony accordions!) …


… THEN she followed it up with a comic strip!  (The comic strip itself led to another strip, also with inverted positioning, but it doesn’t matter because… we met our goal!)

Armadillo playing accordion.

The final tally of sources for valid entries looks like this:

    Betty: 8
    Alan: 1
    Len: 1
    Co-op Radio: 1
    Ben: 3
    Mike: 1

So thanks to our grand champion Betty, our silver medalist Ben, and … the rest of the peanut gallery!  And thanks to Lisan and Bruce for volunteering the jackpot for the wager!  Good fun was had by all, and CFRO Co-Op Community Radio 100.5 fm is now $100 richer for it! We are, uh, desperately brainstorming to determine if we can get any further stretch goal fundraising or social media buzz out of our remaining 26 hours in the fundraising drive, but if so … we’ll keep you posted!

01-20-16: the Creaking Planks visit Accordion Noir for their 11th Anniversary!

January 22, 2016

planks radio

Greetings everyone from Rowan, Bruce’s co-host on Accordion Noir.  Things have been looking a bit sparse around here (that just means that Bruce is actually making headway on his book), but fear not, I’m here to change all that.  I was hoping to log an appearance here in December, but that didn’t pan out — but it’s a New Year and I have some exciting content for you!  With the turnover of the calendar in January, I mark another milestone: the annual celebration of the establishment and first gig of my main musical project, East Van’s jug band of the damned The Creaking Planks.  (I know, it probably violates some journalistic precepts to program myself on my radio show (what are we stooping to the level of, the CBC?), but the band has done a lot for the show and its festival, and so I prefer to consider it less nepotism and more … synergy.)

It’s true: our fabulous 11th Anniversary extravaganza concert is coming up Friday, January 29th at the WISE Hall with supporting acts The Myrtle Family Band and the Sidewalk Cellist, and to help to get the word out, we logged another of our long, strange and sporadic series of appearances on the Accordion Noir Radio program as a band to help give listeners an idea of the big musical fun that awaits them at our concert — and of course to continue doing our bit to spearhead the punk-accordion revival here at Acc Noir ground zero in Vancouver, BC.  Bruce tipped us off that today’s date was the birthday of Leadbelly, which reminded us that we’d once (once) performed an arrangement of In The Pines, but in all the excitement Bruce was left to represent the Leadbelly without us while we wrestled with the mics in the radio station studio.  (SPOILER: the mics won.)

We played and sang a number of songs for home listeners to enjoy on the show: a complete playlist follows, and you can listen and follow along with an audio stream provided by CFRO Co-Op Radio or, if streams aren’t your bag, an MP3 of the episode some canny fan managed to somehow bottle and ferment.

The Creaking Planks – Accordion Noir theme (Andy Fielding) – Live on Accordion Noir (2011)

Lead Belly (Huddie Ledbetter) – Laura (1947) – Born this day, 1888, Mooringsport, Louisiana (in Caddo Parish), USA

Mahlautini Luthuli – Ulele Izweni – Squashbox: Zulu, Sotho, Xhosa Concertina, 1930-1965 (1950) – South Africa – David Murray sent us this.  Thank you, David!

The Creaking Planks – Born Slippy (Underworld) – from YouTube at

The Creaking Planks – Like A Prayer (Madonna) – Live on Accordion Noir (2016)

The Creaking Planks – Warhol’s Portrait of Gretzky (Hawksley Workman) – Live on Accordion Noir (2016)

The Creaking Planks – Major Tom (Peter Schilling) – Live on Accordion Noir (2016)

The Creaking Planks – Sweethome Under White Clouds (Virgin Prunes) – Live on Accordion Noir (2016)

The Creaking Planks – Your Sister’s Wedding – Live on Accordion Noir (2016)

The Creaking Planks – That Pie Ain’t Gonna Eat Itself – Live on Accordion Noir (2016)

    and, because what’s the Plankiest thing you can follow Planks with:

The Chieftains, John Hiatt, etc. – Down The Old Plank Road – Down The Old Plank Road: The Nashville Sessions (2002) – Marc Savoy, acc., Bela Fleck, banjo

Hope you enjoyed the program, and hope to see you out at the show! (If you like the accordion-playing octopi, we should have more of our fabulous T-shirts for sale to interested parties at the show — and online — bearing their basic design.)  Cheers and squeeze on!

Topaz-1: Soviet-Era Electronic Accordion

October 4, 2015

Heading over to the Museum of Soviet Synthesizers (as one should), we find the Topaz-1, one of the coolest retro accordion synths. I would love to try one of these.

Read more…

Dance Tunes in Britain and Ireland: Where Did “Traditional” Begin? (Celia Pendlebury Thesis Review)

August 23, 2015

Forgive me but the subject of this post predates the advent of the accordion and European free-reeds, but the impact on the music is foundational. Basically this long piece stemmed from me trying to write a paragraph in my accordion research. Forgive me also for trawling the net for the illustrations. They are intended to as a pleasant breather for the long text, not as well-considered support for the issues under consideration. Aren’t they fun though? 

– That intro is from Bruce, your humble Accordion Upriser.

The Five Positions of DancingLet me introduce you to Celia Pendlebury and her (successful, 2015!) master’s thesis which I’m pretty sure challenges much of what people have said and written about the origins of “traditional” instrumental/dance music in the former British Empire for the last one-hundred years. I am writing as an outsider to these traditions and an amateur so maybe this is all common knowlege, but it was new to me. I stumbled on her work while researching Inuit accordionists in the Arctic. Old time “Eskimo music” (as its traditionally called) consists of accordion led jigs, reels and square-dances brought to the North by over-wintering whalers in the 1800s. Read more…

Accordion Noir Radio live with Argentina’s Entangados, 2015-07-08

July 9, 2015

Los Entangoados from Argentina fell by Accordion Noir last night and it was splendid.

It was an extra long show so we had plenty of time for them. Sorry if I talked about clown-noses a lot. I had forgotten mine at home and was compensating for feeling left out. Their combination of cumbia, rock, ska, and acoustic folk is seriously fun. They’re touring in BC for the next few weeks so go to their Facebook to hear about dates near you.

Here’s their song Yogadicto, about a guy addicted to yoga.

Listen to the show: Accordion Noir 2015-07-08 (two part)

First hour we took over for Soundscape:

Second Hour Accordion Noir‘s normal 10-11 PM time:

Playlist: Band, Song, Album (year), Planet of Origin, Contact to give them lots of money.

* Kroke – Fire – The Sounds Of The Vanishing World (2000) – Poland –

* Those Darn Accordions – Fire – Squeeze This! (1994) – San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA –

* Jody Kruskal – Krazy For Kasha/Fresh Start/Running For Your Life – Anglo International (0) – New York State, USA –

* Diana Hamilton – Diana Hamilton Rake ‘n’ Scrape Interview 2015-05-08 – Accordion Noir interviews (2015) – Cat Island, The Bahamas –

* Eric Minns – How Rake & Scrape Began –  (2012) – The Bahamas –

* Clemilda – Recordação De Vaqueiro  (Recollections of a Cowboy) – Brazil Classics 3: Forró etc. (1991) – Northeastern Brazil –ó   or

* Georges Norbert And L Honore Rosa – Bonne Annee Amin Ny Tanana – Madagasikara One: Current Traditional Music Of Madagascar (1985) – Madagascar, Africa – (Ace Records, 1986, 1990)

* Bill Monroe & His Blue Grass Boys – Rocky Road Blues – The Essential Bill Monroe & His Blue Grass Boys: 1945-1949 [Disc 1] (1945) – Recorded in Chicago – With Sally Ann Forrester, acc!

* Calexico – Praskovia – Convict Pool (2004) – Tucson, Arizona, USA –

* The Jerry Cans – Uanittuujalii – Nunavuttitut (2013) – Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada –

* Le Vent Du Nord – Le Coeur En Trois – La Part du Feu (2009) – Montréal, Québec, Canada –

* Vishtèn – Valse Minette – Vishtèn Live (2009) – Acadia; Prince Edward Island; Quebec, Canada –

* Mary Jane Lamond & Wendy MacIsaac – Taladh Na Beinne Guirme/The Blue Mountain’s Lullaby – CelticFest Vancouver – 2013 Performers Compilation (0) – Cape Breton Island, Canada –

* Motion Trio – Yellow Trabant – Berlin – Metropolis (2007) – Poland –


¡Live with Los Entangados!

* Yogadicto

* Me Pongo Heavy

* Me Pudro

* Un Buda Disfrazado de Miky Mouse se Abalanzó Como Bala de Cañon Sobre un Puesto de Choripan en el Barrio Chino

* Energión

Thanks to Los Entangados: Petitito Titerelli (vox); Chamen (Shaman) del Acordeon Entangado (piano accordion); Jardincito Hendrix (bas & gtr); Jack Daniel San (tromb); Korcheito Jam (guit); Canaan Sungur (International Drummer of Mystery, aka Kenan Sungar)

And we finished the two-hour show with old friends:

* Jason Webley: The Monsters of Accordion show – Dance While the Sky Crashes Down – The Monsters of Accordion show, Spokane, WA,  (The P.A. System, Spokane7 Podcasts) (2008) – Everett, Washington, USA – Ryan Pitts:

* The Tom Fun Orchestra – Last of the Curious Thieves – You Will Land With A Thud (2007) – Cape Breton Island, Canada –


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