Accordion, Instrument of the Gods In the News

Fear us, for we are legion!

That’s my army of the night, doing attack drills.

Wendy sent me a link to a Boston Globe story covering the American Accordionists’ Association Festival,
which took place in Boston last weekend. I’d have gone, but my travel
budget is taken up by my friend Herb’s wedding in Baltimore this
weekend (and yes, I’m supposed to bring the accordion).

Some snippets from the article:

Mention the old joke about the accordionist who discovers his car has
been broken into only to find that instead of seeing his instrument
missing, there’s another abandoned by its side, and Linda Reed will
tell you someone stole her $6,000 accordion out of her Isuzu Trooper in
SoHo. Ask about the Pepsi commercial, played during the Super Bowl, in
which a young Jimi Hendrix nearly chooses the accordion over the
guitar, and Steven Shuman, 35-year accordion veteran, speaks out:
“We’re here to stay, America.”

Across the hallway, the 23-year-old 2002 World Cup Accordion Champion,
Russian Alexander Poeluev, jerks his head back and forth,
violin-maestro style, as he finesses the last strains of “Bossanova”
for a radio broadcaster’s microphone. He’s dressed, head to toe, in

“Vhen will I play?” he asks a convention coordinator afterward.
Poeluev’s got 10 minutes till stage time. Before he goes on, he
explains that although many don’t recognize him during his 10-city US
tour, he’s popular in music circles in Russia. Does the instrument
attract the ladies?

“Yes. Yes. Yes.” He pauses. “Yes.”

“Sometimes I have a problem,” he says. “So much girls. ”

Oh, the life of an accordion superstar. You get no respect. In this
country, it may seem that outside of zydeco, accordions are doomed to
be forever stigmatized as the source of bad jokes thanks to Steve Urkel
and “The Lawrence Welk Show.” But in other cultures, the squeezebox is
considered downright sensual. Think of “Lady and the Tramp” slurping
their spaghetti without an accordion serenade at Tony’s Ristorante.
Where would Mexican music be without the accordion? Where would the
Argentine tango be without the instrument’s first cousin, the bandoneon?

Then there’s 14-year-old Anthony Falco from Johnston, R.I., who, in his
Billabong cap and knee-length skater shorts, is the accordion world’s
answer to the geek stereotype. Falco regularly jams to Ozzy Osbourne’s
“Crazy Train” and Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” with friends at his
house, and he laments missing Monday’s Ozzfest for the third year in a
row because of the festival.

I really must attend next year. I’d have kicked ass with my rendition of Outkast’s Hey Ya.

2 replies on “Fear us, for we are legion!”

And they’re all over Quincy Market, which is where you were told by a cop to stop playing just a few months ago. Bastards. 😉

A bit late on commenting, but:
Check out The Mollys, a Tucson group that’s been described as “Celtic Mariachi” and who feature accordion prominently in their music. I especially recommend their album HAT TRICK, with especially splendid accordion work on the title track and on “Orange Blossom Special”. Their CDs are available through

Leave a Reply