Accordion Noir co-host Rowan here! (I know, from the outside it looks like I’ve infiltrated, then taken over Bruce’s defunct blog. This is not the case. Bruce is simply on blog-hiatus while he finishes up his book. He is alive and well, and will confirm in the comments that this is not a darkly comic “Weekend At Bernie’s” scenario where he unexpectedly passes and is made to continue appearing active.) Last night we had the pleasure of featuring on our weekly Accordion Noir radio program the special guest Ana Bon-Bon, one of my local accordion saints, who introduced me to the possibilities of the instrument before I ever imagined I might someday pick one up and play it. She’s been keeping on keeping on in the meantime, here, there and mostly in London England, but following a spell in Victoria (BC’s own London, at least in the Empress tea room) she has returned to Vancouver and is putting on a big show this Saturday… in the interest of which she went on a media junket hyping it up on no fewer than three separate CFRO Co-Op Radio programs yesterday! We were the last (and in my totally unbiased opinion, the best!) and got a lot of fun chat out of her about the splendour that will be this Saturday’s “AmazeBall” at the WISE Hall. You can hear a stream of the radio program, and to help follow along we also provide a playlist documenting all of the songs that were played on the episode:
* Preston Frank – Shake What You Got – Arhoolie Records 40th Anniversary Collection: 1960-2000 The Journey Of Chris Strachwitz [Disc 4] (1981) – Crowley, Louisiana, USA – http://www.arhoolie.com/
* Kamil Behounek – Suggestion – Squeeze Me 1: 1929-40 Accordion Joe (The Jazz and Swing Accordion Story) (1944) – http://www.venerablemusic.com/catalog/TitleDetails.asp?TitleID=12048
* Pee Wee King (Frank Julius Anthony Kuczynski) – Oh Monah – Blue Suede Shoes: Gonna Shake This Shack Tonight (1948) – Milwaukee, Wisconsin / Nashville, Tennessee, USA – http://www.bear-family.de
* Ana Bon Bon – Another Bottle of Wine – Live on Accordion Noir in Vancouver (2016) – http://anabonbon.com
* Ana Bon Bon – Let’s Make a Deal – Live on Accordion Noir in Vancouver (2016) – http://anabonbon.com
* Louise Massey & the Westerners – Gol Darn Wheel – Ridin’ High 1933-1941 (1934) – Midland, Texas, USA – http://www.venerablemusic.com/catalog/TitleDetails.asp?TitleID=12030 Featured on the WLS National Barn Dance
* Matuto – Gloomy Sunday – Hungarian Noir (2016) – http://matutomusic.com
Don’t forget, that’s AmazeBall, Saturday May 21 at the WISE Hall:
-slightly experimental cocktail lounge-
Where The Love Boat meets the French New Wave
The Naughty Gentlemen
and a spritzer of venturous lounge acts extraordinaire including
Vancouver’s best-kept secret Kitty & The Rooster,
Mike Soret and his Broken Horns,
the electrifying KittyKat-a-gogo!
-dancing and drinking-
Preferred Dress Code: gold, pink, black, cream
(The header photo originates from a Postmedia interview where you can read a little more about Ana’s triumphant return to Canada and the upcoming show.)
As a special bonus to our online fans, you have a chance to see with your own eyes accordionic YouTube videos we discussed (in vain) on the radio last night…
If you think that this kind of stuff is fun, you don’t have to wait seven whole days for us to post it up — the party keeps on pumping all week long over on Twitter, where you can find us behind @AccordionNoir and @AccordionBruce, RTing the hottest emerging accordion trends (and shocking people with the existence of Accordion Twitter descending upon their idle remarks and celebrating them!) Cheers and squeeze on!
Bruce put on a spirited set of tunes new and old last night: you can enjoy listening to them at our stream, and for additional context — for instance, if you want to find more by that intriguing performer — you can enjoy the following playlist:
* Josh and Sara Sessions – Pessimist – Field Test (2016) – Toronto, Ontario, Canada – http://fieldtest.bandcamp.com, http://www.saraciantar.com/
* Mayhemingways – Wanderers – Hunter St. Blues (2015) – Peterborough, Ontario, Canada – http://www.meyhemingways.wordpress.com
* Bluesqueezebox – Election Day – This Old House (2014) – Austin, Texas, USA – bluesqueezebox.com
* Maurie Sherman and His College Inn Orchestra – Ev’rything Thats Nice Belongs To You – YouTube – princecastle (1931) – New York City, New York State, USA – Recorded in New York on February 21, 1931. Vocal by Smith Ballew. i’m guessing that the solos are by Bunny Berigan, Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Dorsey, Maurie Sherman (violin), Dick McDonough (g) and Cornell Smelser (acc).
* Raúl Gardy – Ay, Rosa – Excavated Shellac (1940s?) – Chile – https://excavatedshellac.com/2008/08/10/raul-gardy-ay-rosa/
* Bremen Immigrant Orchestra – We Are The Rhythm – USA-MEXICO-TURKEY-CHINA-GHANA, West Africa-IRAN-Slowakia-Chile- ROMANIA – http://www.willyschwarz.de/immigrantorch.html
* Brett Dennen – I Asked When – So Much More (2006) – Northern California, USA – http://www.brettdennen.com
* Marko Kassl & Tobias Bredohl – Das Käuzchen ist nicht fortgeflogen (The barn owl has not flown away) – Auf werwachsenem Pfade (On an Overgrown Path): Für Akkordeon und Klavier (arranged by Stefan Heucke) (composed, 1925) – Germany, Austria – http://marko-kassl.de/deutsch/cds/heimat/
* Misty River – Star Of The County Down/Road To Lisdoonvarna/Connaughtman’s Rambles – Stories (2007) – Eugene, Oregon, USA – http://www.mistyriverband.com
* Acclarion – Twilight of Shadows by D. Car – Shattered Expectations (2015) – Toronto, Ontario, Canada – http://www.acclarion.ca
Cheers & squeeze on!
Sporadically, during member drives, we give other underdog instrument fellow travellers the privilege we accordions enjoy on Accordion Noir all year round — an equal opportunity to demonstrate their merits — and have in the past given a number of hours over to such seeming lost causes as Hurdy Gurdy Noir, Banjo Noir (a seeming oxymoron if ever there was one), and even the hopeless Ukulele Noir. Last night… was not one of those occasions. Precisely why Bruce chose to promote it by boasting an absence of Stroh Violin, I cannot presume to speculate. (Perhaps in homage to the recently-announced wind-up of Sook-Yin Lee’s tenure at the CBC’s Definitely Not The Opera?) (From consulting his notes, it looks like this was the date celebrating the invention of the instrument in 1899… but there I go, speculating.)
In any event, you can listen to a stream of the show here, and for those who enjoy some context to their listening, here to fortify it is last night’s playlist! Enjoy and squeeze on!
* Valerio Longoria – El Canoero – Arhoolie Records 40th Anniversary Collection: 1960-2000 The Journey Of Chris Strachwitz [Disc 4] (1989) – http://www.arhoolie.com/
* De Dannan – Joe Doran’s – The Galway Rambler – Jerry Holland’s – World Network 16 – Ireland (0) – County Galway, Ireland (etc) – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Dannan Aidan Coffey, acc.
* Swift Jewel Cowboys – Memphis Blues – Public Domain Country or Western; 1930s; 78rpm (0) – Memphis, Tennesee, USA – http://www.archive.org/details/SwiftJewelCowboys-01-10
* Antti Paalanen – Acc Rider – Meluta (2015) – Finland – http://www.anttipaalanen.com/
* Stas Venglevski & Misha Litvin – Andanta Con Variazioni In D Major, WoO 44 – Duo Feast (2013) – Wisconsin, USA (and Russia) – http://www.stasv.com/
* Roberto Cassan/John Muratore – Arabesque No.1 (Debussy) – Domenie (2010) – New York City, New York State, USA – http://www.cassanmuratore.com
* Fidencio Ayala – Cruzare La Frontera – Conjunto! Texas-Mexican Border Music: Volume 2 (1988)
* Kate Maki – Fade To Grey – Moonshine (2011) – Sudbury, Ontario, Canada – http://www.KateMaki.com
* 3 Leg Torso – The Life and Times and Good Deeds of St. Penguin – Animals & Cannibals (2010) – Portland, Oregon, USA – http://www.3legtorso.com/
* Iris DeMent – Out Of The Fire – Sing The Delta (2012) – Arkansas, USA – http://www.Irisdement.com Jen Gunderman, acc.
* Steve Normandin – Paris, Gare Montparnasse – Les Croques-Morts N’ont Pas Congé (2004) – Quebec, Canada
PS, don’t forget — tonight (Thurs, May 6th) is the monthly gathering of the Vancouver Squeezebox Circle at Spartacus Books, from 8-10 pm! We’re beginning to put together a set list for the upcoming-in-September 9th annual Accordion Noir Festival! It’ll be a breezy blast!
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 – http://www.bellowhead.com/
* Gato Libre – In Barcelona, In June – NOMAD (2006) – Japan – http://www2s.biglobe.ne.jp/~Libra/
* Matthew Barber & Jill Barber – Song To A Young Seagull – The Family Album (2016) – Nova Scotia, Canada – www.matthewbarber.com www.jillbarber.com Robbie Grunwald, acc.
* Jill Barber – Sous Le Ciel De Paris – Chansons (2013) – Halifax, Nova Scotia/Vancouver, BC, Canada –http://www.jillbarber.com Drew Jurecka, acc.
* Stas Venglevski – April – Seasons (2003) – Wisconsin, USA (and Russia) – http://www.stasv.com/
* 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 –www.meyhemingways.wordpress.com
* The Three Suns – April Showers – Movin’ ‘n’ Groovin’ (1962) – – http://arsnovamusic.blogspot.ca/2012/12/the-three-suns-movin-n-groovin-1962.html
* Great Big Sea – Have A Cuppa Tea – Safe Upon The Shore (2010) – Newfoundland, Canada –http://www.greatbigsea.com/
* Los Lobos – Mujer Ingrata – Tin Can Trust (2010) – Los Angeles, California, USA – http://www.loslobos.org/
* Steve Jordan – Ojitos – Polkas Huapangos Y Redovas (0) – San Antonio, Texas, USA –
* Amira and Merima Kljuco – Kradem Ti Se – Zumra (2010) – Bosnia – http://www.amira.com.ba/ acc. Merima Kljuco
* Ernie Felice Quartet – April in Paris – Ernie Felice (3 CD Compilation) (0) – California, USA –http://www.erniefelice.com
* 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.” www.TopicRecords.co.uk
* Jason Webley and friends – My Love Left Me In April – Margaret (2014) – Everett, Washington, USA –www.jasonwebley.com
* Balún – La Bicicleta De Cristal – An EP Collection [EP 1 (2003)] (2006) – Puerto Rico –http://www.balunonline.com/
* Beirut – 224 Scenic World – Gulag Orkestar (2006) – Brooklyn, New York (USA) – http://www.beirutband.com/
* The Small Glories – Way Over Yonder – Wondrous Traveler (2016) – Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada –www.The.SmallGlories.com
* Fang – Mean Swans – Beast Pieces (2011) – Vancouver, BC, Canada – http://www.badler.ca/
* Tommy Williams – Springtime In Battersea – This Label Is Not Removable (A Celebration Of 25 Years Of Free Reed) [Disc 1] (1976) – – www.free-reed.co.uk
* Paperboys – Ray’s Ukranian Wine Cellar Polka/Nelli’s Afterthought – Molinos (1997) – Vancouver, BC, Canada – http://www.paperboys.com/ Shannon Saunders, acc.
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.)
— Alan Lennon (@lennonart1) April 15, 2016
Here’s where things get interesting:
— Lisan Kwindt (@L0etje) April 15, 2016
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.
— Musicwithmike (@musicwithmike) April 18, 2016
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!
— Co-op Radio 100.5 FM (@coopradio) April 20, 2016
@coopradio That one looks flipped to me, and the watermark suggests that you aren’t the one who flipped it… so why “not one”?
— Accordion Noir (@AccordionNoir) April 20, 2016
@AccordionNoir I just chose a pretty one I liked. I didn’t know it was upside down. Total fluke. How many left?
— Co-op Radio 100.5 FM (@coopradio) April 20, 2016
— Lisan Kwindt (@L0etje) April 20, 2016
This would bring us to eight out of 10, but there was another exciting development…
Big news from Tuesday night!
— Lisan Kwindt (@L0etje) April 20, 2016
— Bruce Triggs (@AccordionBruce) April 20, 2016
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:
— Ben Fjeldsted (@fjsys) April 21, 2016
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.)
— Ben Fjeldsted (@fjsys) April 21, 2016
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:
— Ben Fjeldsted (@fjsys) April 23, 2016
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:
— Musicwithmike (@musicwithmike) April 23, 2016
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!)
The final tally of sources for valid entries looks like this:
- Betty: 8
Co-op Radio: 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!
— Lisan Kwindt (@L0etje) April 20, 2016
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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoORTedaJlY
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!