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Favorite Accordion Noir Radio episodes? (Biased Opinion)

November 20, 2014

On the UK-based Accordionists Forum, Joe from Chicago asked about my favourite episodes of the Accordion Noir radio show. The program is actually turning eight years old on December 1st, 2014, so that’s a lot of episodes to think back on.  I’d love to hear from any listeners about their favourite Accordion Noir Radio moments (or least favourite, I don’t pretend we can’t improve or that we always meet all tastes). It is fun to look back at the titles we made up for our old podcast (2006-2012). We continue today of course and you can listen on the new Internet Archive podcast site.

Leadbelly (from Wikipedia)A favourite of mine was when Jared Snyder joined us to talk about the lost African American accordion tradition. (Lead Belly’s first instrument.) One listener didn’t like it because we talked too much. It’s true I could talk about this stuff all night; consider yourself lucky it’s radio and you can turn me down. AccNoir-2011-11-09, African Americans played Accordion before they played the Blues, with Jared Snyder

An unbeatable high.Another show had the distinction of us totally trashing our playlist and spontaneously coming up with a new themed show when another DJ rushed in to the station and told us that there was a riot in downtown Vancouver after a hockey game. So as the show ran we came up with an hour of “riot themed” accordion music on the spot. That was good radio. AccNoir-2011-06-15, Accordion Riot in Canada

Space, where no one can hear you squeeze.I appreciate any episode where my co-host Rowan was gone and out of loneliness I improvise explanations as to where he was (investigating accordion-playing penguins in Antarctica, cleaning the streets of Vancouver with a leaf-blower attached to his accordion, and my favourite, when he actually arrived just in time to join me from the International Space Station in a live broadcast while they deployed their “accordion folded solar panels.” Awesome. AccNoir-2009-03-27, Mix Up, and up, and up…I’d always rather have him there in person of course. (Ironically at this very moment I’m out of town and Rowan is holding down the show without me. I hope he had me travel somewhere interesting.)

I look back favourably on some of our theme episodes.

Elvis was assigned to accordion-duty in the army.The Rock and Roll history of Accordion was really fun. AccNoir-2008-04-18, Rock ‘n’ Accordion Show though I notice the level of my voice is too low, sorry.

AccNoir-2010-07-28, Cylinder Recordings from the Future! All recordings at least 80 years old! Much of this old-school show was based on work I did annotating a selection of the old squeezebox cylinders at UC Santa Cruz’s Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project

AccNoir-2009-01-16, Lars Hollmer TributeLars Hollmer, I wish I could invite him as a guest to our little show. A commemoration of the founding member of the Accordion Tribe Lars Hollmer. I so wish we could have had him and the whole Tribe play here. He is missed.

AccNoir-2010-11-24, Grand ol’ Accordion Opry I started uncovering just how much early (pre-1960) country music had accordion and had to do a special.

A somewhat bizarre combo: (first the promo ad) Accordion Noir, Brasil-Finland Fundraiser Promo!
AccNoir-2008-10-24, Brasil-Finland International Friendship Episode! The full show: (We went back and forth with one track from Brazil and then one from Finland for the whole program. Silly fun.)

Johanna Juhola is one woman worth celebrating, among billions.Holidays are always great themes:
AccNoir-2008-10-31, Halloween Fundraiser
AccNoir-2011-03-09, International Women’s Day 100 year anniversary
Accordion Noir 2013-12-25, Jingle Bell Rocks rocks (3 hour not-all-accordion Christmas show!) This monster 3-hour Christmas show was darn jolly.

AccNoir-2009-02-06, Rowan at the Movies Rowan’s film-music nights are great.

And I have a soft-spot for the wacky “other instrument”-Noir shows we’ve done during Vancouver Co-op Radio’s fund-drives:
You dog you!
AccNoir-2010-04-09, Jew’s Harp Noir
AccNoir-2011-09-23, Accordion Resistance Special Ukulele Grudge-show with Barbara Adler
AccNoir-2011-10-19, Hurdy Gurdy Noir (fund-raiser, part I) with Bev Dobrinsky of Zeelia
AccNoir-2011-10-26, Hurdy Gurdy Noir (Fund-raiser part II) with David Burda!

AccNoir-2011-04-20, Banjo Noir, the announcement!
AccNoir-2011-04-20 (pt 2 of 3), Banjo Noir First Hour, with Linda Bull and Sue Malcolm
AccNoir-2011-04-20 (pt 3 of 3), Banjo Noir Second Hour, with a little bit of Linda Bull and Sue Malcolm

Weirdest show we ever did?Marlène Dietrich playing musical saw!
Theremin, Musical-Saw, Glass Harmonica! (Announcement)
AccNoir-2010-10-27, Theremin, Musical-Saw, Glass-Harmonica Noir. (full, long show)

In some ways I might be most proud of the little promo announcements I make for the show, various specials, and our Festival and events. Those take a lot of editing and are really fun. I’m working on a new one now. (Note, “PRA”=”Pre Recorded Announcement,” in radio-speak.)
Accordion Noir Historical PRA (perhaps my favourite promo for the show. Silly.)

Accordion Rock ‘n’ Noir PRA by Accordion Noir
Accordion Noir Electronica (dub) (the wordless base for a promo. Samples from ten different accordion artists.)
AccNoir-2010-05-12, Electronica/New Time PRA (the announcement as broadcast with me talking. I’m proud of this one.)
Accordion Noir, Brasil-Finland Fundraiser Promo!
Accordion Noir: Halloween Fundraiser PRA Announcement: Oct 31, 2008
Ukulele Noir! April 24th takeover show, promo ad!

That's a Pigini And if you doubt the power of radio: My daughter wanted a teacher, and found one!
Harriet’s plea for a girl piano-accordion teacher in Vancouver!

I’d love to hear if you had favourite Accordion Noir moments over the years. I don’t know if I can trust the numbers at all, but the old podcast claims to have had tens of thousands of downloads of most of the shows. I don’t know what to make of those, but we’ve definitely had many thousands of real listeners, and it is a humbling privilege to do the show if folks appreciate the music we share.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Accordion Americana permalink
    November 21, 2014 7:03 am

    Hi, Bruce! I find your program inspiring and the fact that you have been so faithful to your cause for so long. Hey, have you thought about issuing a boxed set of CD’s of all 8 years of episodes?

  2. November 22, 2014 5:32 pm

    I wonder how many CD’s that would take? The trouble with compilations of even just favourite historic tracks that you couldn’t get anywhere else (i.e. Alice Hall and Leon Sash’s out of print jazz records from the 40s-50s), is that acquiring permissions from copyright holding corporations would be prohibitive, especially in this age where CD’s aren’t selling well.

    I’m not sure where the future is for well-researched collections like the boxed-sets of a few years ago. There’s people doing similar things in downloadable format now, we’ll see. Example (with only a few accordions, and the cover):

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