National Accordion Awareness Month: your first warning

I didn’t know this until I stumbled across it: June is National Accordion Awareness Month. Established in 1989 to promote awareness of the squeezebox, this month is a celebration of the much-maligned instrument, which is enjoying a resurgence in popularity thanks to a wide array of artists ranging from the Dixie Chicks to Nirvana to They Might Be Giants to Yours Truly.

Some accordion facts:

  • The piano accordion is the official musical instrument of the city of San Francisco and has been since 1990. This year is the 13th anniversary!
  • Actress Lucy Liu plays the accordion.
  • The accordion is a member of the reed family, not the keyboard family.
  • The first United States-made piano accordion (the ones with the keys on it) was manufactured in San Francisco back in 1907. It was at the Guerrini Accordion Company on DuPont St. (Grant Ave., near Columbus Ave.)
  • When people think of an accordion, they usually envision that large, black monstrosity with piano keys on one side and about a thousand buttons on the other side. However, the accordion family also includes Cajun button boxes, chromatic and diatonic button accordions, the concertina, the bayan, and the bandoneon.
  • Isn’t the accordion just being used at weddings and Bar Mitzvahs? Heck no! Shania Twain’s immensely popular Come On Over CD has accordion on a couple of tracks. Los Lobos. Bruce Hornsby plays the accordion and uses it in shows. Counting Crows use accordion a lot. In San Francisco, the show Forever Tango was a huge hit and featured two bandoneonists.
  • China is the largest manufacturer and exporter of accordions in the world — the “unknown super power of accordion“.

You know, I still don’t know how to play Lady of Spain. Maybe I should learn.

Leave a Reply