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Vancouver’s 2012 Accordion Noir Festival, Sept 13-16

August 24, 2012

Hi all,

This year’s 5th Annual Accordion Noir Festival in Vancouver is shaping up to be a pretty big deal.  It’s kind of a “consolidation before bigger things” year I hope, with us having legally established the “Accordion Noir Society” which lets us apply for grants to build the festival.  We got our first two little grants to support a few shows (and a guest Guro Von Germeten from Norway!), and for a bunch of big ads on bus shelters around the city.

Artsy image of an accordion with many arms and several legs.  Includes show dates and players.

That’s pretty cool.  We’re offering prizes to people who get photos of themselves with their accordions at the bus-stops.

Hopefully next year we can build to bigger and better, with a chance to work on bringing artists from further afield.  How I’d love to tap Finland and Belgium, and we have Azerbaijani garmon players here in Vancouver I just met!  Etc.

This year features four nights of shows with Geoff Berner, Maria in the Shower, Guro Von Germeten (from Norway), Renée de la Prade from San Francisco, Vancouver’s classic Flying Folk Army, my radio co-host Rowan’s Creaking Planks, and several projects by the mighty-mighty Barbara Adler including her band Proud Animal and a youth-show “Mistakes I’ve Lived Through.”

More info:

If nothing else the fest-closing “Underdog Instrument Grudge-Match,” where banjos, ukuleles, and accordions battle it out with no holds barred, is gonna be a hoot:

Barbara Adler referees (see, we’ve already won) a big, fat musical brawl, where the city’s most volatile accordions go head-to-head with Team Ukulele and Team Banjo to decide which underdog instrument rules Vancouver. Following up on the sell-out success of last year’s battle, the closing event of the festival will feature trash talk, cheating and some brilliant playing in a variety of musical styles. Which instrument will win your hearts? And which instrument will make the other instruments hand over their lunch money? The choice is yours. Costumes, banners, body-painting and chanting are heavily encouraged.

The first Underdog Instrument Grudge Match was held at the 2011 Brandon Folk Music Festival, and featured team leaders Barbara Adler and Mathias Kom (from The Burning Hell). Unexpected rainfall forced the accordion workshop and the ukulele workshop to share a stage. Deciding that a traditional “round-robin” format would be too boring, Kom and Adler led the other players in a head-to-head musical competition. The combination of good-natured trash talking and high stakes performance was a hit, and the grudge match was born.

Players will be judged on their musicality, wittiness, and the shininess of their instruments. If the competition seems unfairly weighted towards accordions—it is.

For this night only, accordion jokes will be tolerated and even encouraged.

catch the hot and heavy pre-match trash-talk, on the facebook page.

The Grudge Match closes the Festival:

Sunday, September 16th

9:00 pm PST

The Anza Club

$5-$10 sliding scale

From an older interview with the band.   

If you’re  in the Vancouver, BC area, there are a lot of local accordion events coming up, including two (!) touring heavy-metal acts in the next few weeks.  Stolen Babies from LA (Sept 5th), and Korpiklaani from Finland (Sept, 9th)!  Whoa.  Too bad they weren’t a week later or we could have added them to our Festival.

All those events are detailed at our local Vancouver Squeezebox Circle calendar:


And they haven’t announced dates yet, but Kimmo Pohjonen from Finland’s documentary film “Soundbreaker” (or “Ice-Bellows”), is going to play the Vancouver International Film Festival this year.  (We recommended it, they agreed!)  That will be an event.  This guy will make people forget everything bad they’ve ever heard about the accordion.

(their schedule comes out September 5th.)

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