I got a chemnitzer concertina! It’s really pretty.
Our friend Alan scours craigslist for “accordions, accordians, concertinas, melodions….” and turned up a used chemnitzer right here in East Vancouver – that’s unlikely. It turns out our other friend Chris Urquhart got it a year or more ago and even though we had asked on the radio if there were any teachers in the area, no luck.
Chris is heading out on the road now researching a book on rough travelling kids, who play a lot of (portable, loud) accordions and concertinas. We await her return to hear about her adventures, including recordings to go with the book. Amazing project – but sadly not one you want lug a fifteen pound mailbox on. We’re happy to keep it in the family so she can see it when she gets back.
Chemnitzer concertinas are a rarity, developed in Chemitz, Germany and closely related to Heinrich Band’s bandoneón. They look similar, but the chemnitzer (in Germany sometimes konzertina) is usually more decorative (ie. more mother of pearl and more colours!) In North America they’re mostly limited to certain ethnic dance/polka styles in the upper midwest. (This one came from Illinois by internet-special.) Two rock-bands I know of also play them, David Eugene Edwards, and a Seattle band called Guardian Alien.
It was swell to meet Chris finally, and we talked about accordions for a while and I recorded a bit of our yakin to share on the radio. It was cool to discuss our books with another author. I think I want to find a writers’ group to give me deadlines, and Chris suggested I’m ready to do some proposing to publishers. We’ll see.
Get more on chemnitzers:
Here’s a swell article from the Polish American Journal