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Accordion Noir radio playlist 2010-05-14: Magnifico! Kids’ accordion books with Victoria Miles

May 11, 2020
AccNoir 2010-05-14


From ten years ago, here’s episode 178 of CFRO Co-Op Radio’s weekly Accordion Noir broadcast, with an emphasis on accordions in children’s literature — prompted by the then-new release of Victoria Miles’ book Magnifico!  At its original online home, it tracked some 8621 listens, and you can all continue enjoying listening to it via the Internet Archive.  Here’s its playlist:

AccNoir-2010-05-12, Magnifico! with Victoria Miles.

*Artist – Song – Album (year) – Where are they from? – Contact info if we’ve got it.

* Accordion Noir Electronic/New Time PRA (broadcast first here today!4
* Andy Fielding – Accordion Noir theme (short version, 1:06) – Accordion Noir (2010) – Vancouver, BC, Canada – recorded special just for our show! More,
* Mimmit – Katrillin Poika – Hats, Hats Harakkainen (2008) – Finland! –
* Filippo Gambetta – Da Maria (introduzione) – Pria Goaea (2002) – Italy –
* Filippo Gambetta – La ALumaca Equilibrista
* Paulinho Guima – Eh! Sanfonero – Putumayo Kids Presents Brazilian Playground (2007) – – Brasil
* Charles Camilleri – Charles Camilleri – (sorry I don’t have track names for these. Nice flute work though.)
* Bruce’s daughter Harriet – I’m Playing the Accordion! – Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
* Filippo Gambetta – Episogdio Diatonico n.1 – Pria Goaea (2002) – Italy –
* “Weird Al” Yankovic – Lasanga – Even Worse (1988) – USA – (We don’t play a lot of Weird Al, Bruce’s children have started to convert him. Eight-year-olds seem to be about .)
* Creaking Planks – Closer (the teddy-bear version) – TBA: VIVO Sessions (2008) – Vancouver, BC, Canada – Unreleased track, from upcoming album?

This episode’s cover is: the cover of Victoria Miles’ magnificent book, “Magnifico.” You should get it, it’s very nice.


Soundtrack provided by the CD’s included in the two books below:

GRANDPA’S MAGICAL ACCORDION (2007) – Text by Jessica Errico, Illustrations by Brenda Star, Musical Performances by Tony Errico

AN ACCORDION! WHAT IS THAT? (2009) – Accordionist Mary Tokarski – Available for $20 ($17.95 plus $2.05 for shipping and handling) from SqueezinArt, PO Box 2001, Rockville, MD 20847-2001. For volume discount (10 copies or more), email

* Les Bicyclettes de Belsize – Grandpa’s Magical Accordion (2007) – Musical Performances by Tony Errico
* Boogie Woogie (adapted from Charles Magnante’s “Accordion Boogie”) – Grandpa’s Magical Accordion (2007) – Musical Performances by Tony Errico
* Flight of the Bumble Bee – An Accordion! What is that? (2009) – Accordionist Mary Tokarski
* Flat the Fifth – An Accordion! What is that? (2009) – Accordionist Mary Tokarski
* Cielito Linda – Grandpa’s Magical Accordion (2007) – Musical Performances by Tony Errico
* Ciao, Ciao Bambina – Grandpa’s Magical Accordion (2007) – Musical Performances by Tony Errico
* Fly Me to the Moon – Grandpa’s Magical Accordion (2007) – Musical Performances by Tony Errico

The books we talk about:

MAGNIFICO: by Victoria Miles (who we were able to interview tonight!) About a little Italian-Canadian girl who doesn’t like the accordion, and learns some things about life as she plays it.

HISTORY UNFOLDS: 100 YEARS OF HOHNER ACCORDIONS IN PICTURES This history of the Hohner company and its accordions is presented in English & German. Richly illustrated with full color photos of various accordions, as well as other color and black & white plates. Forewords by Martin Haffner and Ernst Pfister, glossary, bibliography, index. Hardcover, 271 pp. out-of-stock, more coming soon. 663-1……$75.00 buy

A MAN AND HIS DREAMS: AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF THE ACCORDION: by Paolo Bugiolacchi Illustrated by Alfredo Brasioli INTERNATIONAL ACCORDION MUSEUM The Loreto Cassa di Risparmio Foundation
Based on an idea by Vincenzo Canali and Mariano Recanati

AN ACCORDION! WHAT IS THAT? by Karen Malan-Uribe This children’s book was written by Karen Malan-Uribe and illustrated by Joan Geller Grauman. Mary Tokarski narrates the book and plays a range of tunes on the accompanying CD. Available for $20 ($17.95 plus $2.05 for shipping and handling) from SqueezinArt, PO Box 2001, Rockville, MD 20847-2001. For volume discount (10 copies or more), email See an article about the book at

MENDEL’S ACCORDION: by Heidi Smith Hyde
Lovely klezmer player immigration story. Relevant for immigrant accordionists today, and always.
Ill: Van Der Sterre, Johanna

SOMETHING SPECIAL FOR ME: by Vera Williams is most known for her Rosa Trilogy. The first of these books was A Chair for My Mother. The story is about a young Hispanic girl named Rosa who lives with her mother, a waitress, and her grandmother. Throughout the story they save their money to buy a comfortable arm chair for Rosa’s overworked mother. The second book in the Rosa Trilogy is Something Special for Me. In this story the women are saving money again, but this time it is for Rosa’s birthday present. Rosa decides to buy an accordion so that her present will bring joy to the family, not just herself. The final book about Rosa was Music, Music for Everyone. In this story, Rosa and her friends raise money for her grandmother’s medical care by playing in a band. Forth book: A Chair for Always, 2009.

THE GIFT: A HANUKKAH STORY, by Aliana Brodmann
Hanukkah money burning a hole in your pocket? Aliana Brodmann’s The Gift: A Hanukkah Story is a children’s picture book about a young girl who receives her Hanukkah gelt (money) from her father, but can’t decide how to spend it. After going from store to store looking at hats, dolls, and even kittens, she hears beautiful music played by an accordion player on the street. She decides to give the money to him and, in return, he teaches her to play the accordion.
It’s a sweet story, set in post-war Germany and based on the author’s memories of her childhood there. The book was originally published in 1993 and may be hard to find, so check your local library first.

TONY LOVED TO LEARN: by Sharon Kay Riddle, Nancy Ida Sanders, Megan Mendoza Kid’s picture book about Anthony Galla-Rini! How cool is that! Sweet look back into the “Golden Age of the Accordion,” with Harpo Marx cameo!

GRANDPA’S MAGICAL ACCORDION: written by Jessica Cherie Errico and illustrated by Brenda Star Pretty picture book with CD narration and music in styles from around the world.

Accordion playing undersea adventure polar bear and stuff. Pretty neat.

THE ANGEL AND THE CHILD: by Dominique Falda A lovely picture book about an angel that comes down to earth and plays the concertina! “Angels are eternal. And eternity is a very long time – much longer than a little tune played on a concertina.” “I have time to learn music. With a lesson every hundred years or so, I can be musical in no time. The little bird can accompany me, and have a laugh now and then, because it will take me forever to learn to play the concertina.” Good book, sweet pictures, and a squeezebox.

And finally:

SIGHTS: by Susanna Vance
From the great Lets Polka blog:
There aren’t many young adult novels involving accordions, but Bruce Triggs found one. Bruce — co-host of the excellent Accordion Noir radio show in Vancouver — penned this book review for Let’s Polka:

I picked up Susanna Vance’s book Sights, because the (hardback) cover is of a girl playing accordion. I was literally on my way to the Vancouver (BC) Accordion Circle, where I was quick to show it off.
Sights tells the story of a 13-year-old girl who’s had what’s euphemistically called a “tough” childhood, moving to a new school and making friends with some other outcasts and forming a band. She plays accordion… they rock… cool! I wanted her to be a big Johnny Grande fan (accordionist with Bill Haley and the Comets), but he isn’t mentioned.
I was really impressed with the “sound” of the narrator (whose name is Baby Girl). Without telling where she is from, she gives a really consistent rural USA sound to the book. I’ve lived a lot of places in America, and she sounded kind of Okie/Appalachian. I’m not sure where she’s from, but it’s really nice.
It has grimmer aspects than Victoria Miles’ Magnifico, the other teen book I know with accordion content. People should be aware that it deals matter-of-factly with subjects like child abuse and adolescent sexuality, but I do recommend it. (I similarly have to remember to tell people that Annie Proulx’s Accordion Crimes is kinda violent, which I overlook in the richness of it all.)
There are elements of fantasy in the story’s vision of 1950’s USA. I wouldn’t call it realistic; even the violence is rather odd. But if you’re prepared (by reading this), you should be in for a swell time.


Check for Vancouver-area shows and squeezing!


Let us know where you’re listening from! Support Accordion Noir, we love our supporters, and our supporters’ supporters – even our detractors love our supporters.

Thanks for reading us here (and hopefully listening to us, there), but if you find you want more, you can always keep up with us on Twitter (@AccordionNoir and @AccordionBruce), Instagram (@AccordionNoirFest), and Facebook at Accordion Noir fansthe Accordion Noir Festival, and the Vancouver Squeezebox Circle (most likely again via Zoom for next month.) Cheers & squeeze on!

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