Accordion, Instrument of the Gods It Happened to Me


The Accorgan

Ladies and gentlemen, meet accordion number four, an Iorio “accorgan” (which I assume is a combination of “accordion” and “organ”):

Photo: The Iorio 'Accorgan' that Wendy got me.

I’ve heard of these things before — they’re acoustic accordions with

some electronic components and switches that suggest that they’re like

electronic organs. According to Wendy, the accordion has a number of

electric switches and volume dials not unlike old-school electronic

organs; I suspect that it could be plugged into an amplifier for REAL


This lucky find never would’ve happened without Wendy. She was riding home on the bus when she overheard a woman talking to the bus driver.

“Who can I give my father’s accordion to?” the woman asked.

Wendy, who says that her ears perk up whenever she hears the word “accordion” (aww…) approached the woman and said “My fiance plays the accordion! You could give it to him!”

And so an arrangement was made. Last Saturday, they met at Dunkin’

Donuts, where the woman gave Wendy the accordion, which was wrapped up

in duct tape and garbage bags.

“It must’ve looked like a drug deal,” Wendy said.

She brought it back, played a couple of notes for me over the phone so

I could hear it (it might need a little tuning) and took the picture

above. She says it “smells like a bar”, to which I said “Good! That

means it has stories.”

And now the Iorio sits in her living room, waiting for my next visit.

She says it’s strange having an accordion in her house, but no guy. Soon, sweetie, soon!

My fiancee is nothing short of amazing.


Liz “I Speak of Dreams” Ditz sent me this news about yet another convert to the accordion:

Photo: No-Butt Bob & Murphy's Law-isiana

Bob & Murphy’s Law-isiana: 

Murphy’s Law string band has “transmoogafied”  into a traditional

Cajun band. Caity’s been pulling out the squeezebox and making noise at

folkfests and dances  around the state of Florida including the

recent Cajun Cafe On The Bayou’s Fais Do-Do Fest ’99 held in Pinellas

Park FL in early October.

Thanks for the heads-up, Liz!

Wendy Plays Accordion

Quirky singer-songwriter Wendy McNeill

is also a convert to the accordion. For her third album, Such a Common Bird, she’s taken up

the accordion as both songwriting and performance instrument. Bravo!

Photo: Album cover for Wendy McNeill's 'Such a Common Bird'.

She’s put a couple of tracks online, both of which are quite good: 

Soon to be a Respectable Instrument

And finally, here’s the last paragraph of an article from the September edition of Air Canada’s in-flight magazine, EnRoute.

The article is about the ukelele (an equally-maligned instrument,

championed by BoingBoing’s Mark Frauenfelder), but the paragraph could

easily be applied to the accordion:

As more of the world hears Jake Shimabukuro,

it will become impossible to continue to associate the ukelele with

novelty acts. And Hawaii itself will no longer  be considered to

be one big Elvis movie, augmented by happy dancing natives, wacky

cocktails and tacky tiki. This sort of thing has happened before. At

the beginning of the 20th century, for instance, a certain instrument

was associated only with vaudeville comics and horn-honking clowns. All

it took was a single virtuoso to reform that instrument’s reputation.

That man was Coleman Hawkins, and the instrument was the tenor saxophone.

4 replies on “Accordion-o-Rama”

The other kid in the picture has a violin, so he’s obviously much cooler =P

(I’d better be logged in or this comment wouldn’t make any sense)

Lorraine (the accordion-giver) was driving the bus I rode this morning! She’s very pleased that you’re happy.


As a guitarist and ukulele player who often works with a MONSTER accordion virtuoso, I’d say that the accordion is not only respectible, but positively avant-garde. His name’s Steve Pellegrino, and he’s as likely to bust out a Coltrane tune, quotes from Einstein on the Beach, or “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” as he is a polka. You can hear some snippets of work we’ve done–including our “cubist” version of “Lady of Spain” here.

A friend took some very impressive shots of a performance we’d done this past June, including some great action shots of Steve and the accordion here.

Then, of course, there’s Pauline Oliveros and Guy Klucevsek, but I’ve not worked with them. But I’d say both the accordion and the uke are on something of a secret cutting edge.

You might want to listen to a Basque guy called Kepa Junquera. He plays the Triquitrixa (a smaller diatonico squeezebox similar to Argentinian Bandoneon), and he does both folk airs and his own modern compositions. He is good on the former, and bloody *awesome* on the latter.


Javier from Madrid.-

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