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Accordion Revolution: The Book Cover!

May 6, 2019

Today is World Accordion Day (the anniversary of the date in 1829 when Cyrill Demian and his sons filed the first patent in Vienna for an instrument called “The Accordion.”

In honor of this momentous anniversary, I unveiled the cover of my upcoming Accordion Revolution book. It’s expected to be available in June. More updates will be included at the page, but here’s what you’ll find there today:

Accordion Revolution book cover: light brown skinned woman with long brown hair and a red accordion, modeled after the

A new book by Bruce Triggs

Paperback, 6 x 9 in, 430 pgs.

58 historical illustrations

Release, June 2019

Cover by Vancouver artist:
Michelle Clement


Arriving in North America in the hands of immigrants, the accordion was heard everywhere from Creole string bands in New Orleans to Inuit square dances above the Arctic Circle. Popular musicians embraced the squeezebox from the earliest jazz to the dawn of rock ’n’ roll. After years of neglect, their stories can finally be told.

Accordion Revolution uncovers the hidden history of the squeezebox, with characters like: Vaudeville star Guido Deiro’s secret marriage to a then-unknown Mae West; John Kimmel, star of the Irish accordion, ironically born to a German immigrant family in Brooklyn; and R&B accordionist Julie Gardner, who jammed with Charlie Parker before shipping out to play for the troops in the South Pacific.

When the instrument fell out of fashion, folklorist Alan Lomax amplified a common disdain, calling the accordion a “pestiferous instrument.” Thankfully the squeezebox survived its exile. Louisiana French Zydeco and Cajun musicians have rocked the world. Virtuosic accordionists like Eva Ybarra sustain a line of Tejana accordionists going back to the 1930s. The stories in Accordion Revolutionrestore the squeezebox to its rightful place at the roots of North America’s popular music.

Table of Contents:

Accordion Revolution: The Squeezebox Heart of Pop Music in North America

Part I: The Dawn of the Accordion Revolution
Chapter 1: The Accordion Conquers the World
Chapter 2: The Accordion’s Family Tree
Chapter 3: Blackface Minstrelsy: Roots in Racism

Part II The Golden Age
Chapter 4: Vaudeville and the Dawn of the Golden Age
Chapter 5: Polka and “Ethnic” Music
Chapter 6: Jazzing the Accordion
Chapter 7: The Closing Acts of the Golden Age

Josephine & Lena Bergamasco of the vaudeville group the Three Vagrants (1920s)

Part III Roots Music: An Outsider’s Canon
Chapter 8: Acordeón: Mexican and American Roots
Chapter 9: Creoles, Cajuns, and Zydeco: French Music in the American South
Chapter 10: Irish and Scottish Accordion: Immigration, Transition and Tradition
Chapter 11: Canadian Accordion: Northern Traditions
Chapter 12: Klezmer: a Restoration with Accordion

Part IV: American Wheeze: A Pre-History of Rock
Chapter 13: African Americans Played Accordion Before They Played the Blues
Chapter 14: Country & Western: Cowboys and Squeezeboxes
Chapter 15: The Folk Revival: The Accordion Betrayed

Part V: Accordion Exile: The Rise of Rock
Chapter 16: Rockin’ the Accordion
Chapter 17: The Accordion Exodus

About the Author

Bruce and hulusi (sheng)

Bruce with the Chinese hulusi (ancient free-reed cousin of the accordion) he found in a local thrift store.

Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Bruce has hosted the Accordion Noir radio program and the annual Accordion Noir Festival for over a dozen years. He plays a Giuliette chromatic button accordion that was built-to-last in the 1960s.

Way back in 1955, Toni Charuhas’ book The Accordion predicted a bright road ahead for her favourite instrument.  It didn’t quite turn out that way.  Instead the accordion became the Most Uncool Instrument In North America (at least for mainstream white people).  It lost any connection to past legitimacy or glory, and “Stomach Steinways” slept in thrift shops or in dusty grandparents’ closets for the next fifty years.

I got into accordions after growing up with rock and roll.  Inspired by that background I co-host the weekly Accordion Noir show on Co-op Radio in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Now after ten years of talking about it, I look forward to sharing the Accordion Revolution with you!

Fiat Blue Tiger Combo 'Cordion from 1966, with its original Tiger-Print Case!

Among the dozens of illustrations featured in the book (book images are b/w): The fabled Tiger Combo ‘Cordion (1966) with its original tiger-print case! See chapter 17 “The Accordion Exodus” which covers the rise of rock & roll and why accordions and their story were unheard for so long. (Courtesy of Tempo Trend Accordions, Victoria, BC, Canada.

To be first in line when the book is ready to order, add your name here:

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