Do you have your own squeezebox story? How did you like the show? We would love for you to share your comments and your own stories here.
January 8, 2013
Wow Essie .. You still play the accordion. One of these days you sholud play for us. I miss hearing the sound of the accordion. I want to learn to play the guitar. I like it.
July 24, 2012
My name is Justin Franzino aka Giustino Franzino. I started playing the accordion at the age of 12. My parents sold their insurance policies to be able to afford an accordion for me. We were a family of 8, that’s right eight kids plus Papa and Momma, 1 border(my brother John’s buddy that was put out of his foster home to the street) and our old maid aunt “Zia”. We were flat out poor. But the good news was that we didn’t know it.
I practiced every day (almost) and soon I was playing “out” at a bar on the south end of town called “The Lucky Star Bar. Chi-Chi and Steve were the owners. Our first night was a shocker when Chi Chi asked me if I knew the Hawaiian War Chant. I did, and she proceeded to strip naked in front of the band stand. This launched my career! Subsequently I performed at many local bars in Bridgeport Connecticut. From there I traveled across the country with a trio which included a bass/clarinet/singer and wife of our bass player. I returned home and wed my first wife. Living in Florida the beeswax melted and there went my accordion. It was only until a got a free accordion for playing an Italian gig that relaunched my career. One of the highlights of my accordion journeys was playing on one of the “Love boats” for Princes Cruises. Sweet!
Having entered the computer age I had my Cordovox converted to “Midi”. When Roland came out with their “V” series accordion I was hooked and had to have their totally digital accordion. I now play French Bastille day, Italian Festivals, German Oktoberfests, old standards and whatever my audience wants.I believe this instrument takes the squeezebox to a new level. My audiences love it!
The accordion has taken me places that I never would have experienced without it.
April 19, 2012
I grew up with the sound of accordions in my ear. Val Taro musette-type combos played at the local ‘Co-operativa’, where adults would dance to the music of two accordions and a guitar, with a bass drum pedal. Sunday afternoon ‘clambakes’ would feature a solo accordion playing all day! I begged for my own first 48 bass at age 10, and have been playing for 64 years, so clearly, I love the accordion.
The factors causing the accordion to decline in our pop culture are many, and I won’t begin to list them. But I cannot accept ‘Lawrence Welk’ causing the accordion to go into the ‘closet’. He had many instruments featured, and most went into the ‘closet’. Most required too much work to master. Only the guitar has really triumphed. Today, it still dominates, long after Elvis strummed his simple chords, and changed American music. It was easy, with all due respect to Eddie Van Halen, who practiced ceaselessly.
Myron Floren was an inspiration to us all, but not enough to prevent the accordion from slip-sliding away. On the professional scene, the ’60’s were still good for the accordion. Then, it largely went away, as Accorgans, Chordovoxes and then, finally, keyboards took over.
Can the accordion really come back? Can the mandolin, or banjo ever come back? All three had their heydays, yet today are played mostly by enthusiasts, almost unseen by most of the public.
But for those who enjoy their special instruments, including our beloved accordion, it doesn’t matter that one rarely is seen on television or in the movies. We enjoy the accordion because it’s in our blood, and once the accordion gets in your blood, at any age, it never leaves. I don’t know why but it’s there for good.
For those who put the ‘squeezebox’ in the closet, it had never made it into their blood. But please don’t blame Lawrence Welk. He did his utmost to keep the accordion on the American music scene, and in my opinion, did a decent job of it.
I still play in local restaurants to this day, but it’s the ‘European’ experience that almost everyone is looking for. There, the accordion is still very much alive and well. Thanks for letting me share my view on the accordion scene. May it live forever, in whatever form.
March 8, 2012
The accordion is also alive and well on the East Coast! Liberty Bellows is a full service accordion shop in Philadelphia, PA and we have people of all ages starting to take lessons, getting their accordions repaired, and adding lots of energy to the accordion scene here. Thank you for your great coverage on the many modern forms of accordion out there. We would be happy to share our stories any time or feel free to check out our video documentation of over 1,000 accordions on YouTube user libertybellows or on our web site www.libertybellows.com.
February 21, 2012
Hey, Marié! Just heard the last thirty seconds of your show on KALW, just in time to hear your credit and not much else… Congratulations, and I look forward to hearing the shows you’ve posted here (when I’m not dashing off to rehearsal). All best,jrb
February 15, 2012
Cheers for the tips, and your web page really looks fabulous. Just what wordpress design are you using?
February 7, 2012
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, my brother, Ken Durgen, took lessons from an Italian accordian teacher in the San Franciso area. He was a great teacher. Would you possibly be able/willing to help me find his name? His son is searching for some old sheet music arrangements that belonged to my brother.
A name sounding like Mr. Manicotti keeps running through my mind?
I would so appreciate your help in this matter.
Have a great day!!!
Janet Durgen 🙂
December 31, 2011
Please make this series available as a downloadable MP3 so I can listen to it in my car!
December 30, 2011
ACCORDIONS….Revivals how absolutely wonderful. I wrote a comment about the piece to KQED, SF when I heard the story. I have loved these instruments ever since I was a child who was born in San Francisco in the middle of the 1930’s Depression, lived in North Beach and heard this instrument as one of my very first experiences. I have over the years kept up with the instrument in Europe but I have really missed it’s voice. Brava to the gutsy young woman who is restoring these complicated instruments….they are worth every bit of her time. Again thanks, bjs, Northern California
December 26, 2011
I came to the accordion through Irish dance – My girls started Irish dancing back around 2005 – at one of the first rehearsals, the dance instructor’s husband came in a played for the dance practice – just simple Irish jigs and reels – I had always enjoyed Irish music but upon hearing a button box player I was instantly hooked.
My dream was to learn the box and be able to play for my girls’ dancing. We had a pop up camper that we rarely used, so in 2007 I sold the camper and bought a B/C button accordion from a friend – we have not looked back – Our family performs at retirement communities where we share our love of Irish music and dance.
December 26, 2011
My story is too long to try & put it here. I paid my way thru college( UNC Chapel Hill, N C ) & have made it my living for 60 years.. by booking , leading , and playing in 5 different styles of bands ( WWW.GOODMANMUSIC.COM )..Placed in international competition in 1957, and Toured with THE THREE SUNS in 1964.. Came home to Charlotte, N C to raise my family , and got so ensconced in the Piedmont Carolina community that it paid me to stay local instead of touring with big name bands.
It has been an interesting trip. ..
December 14, 2011
I never thohugt I would find such an everyday topic so enthralling!
December 11, 2011
I loved this story. But where is the Irish stuff? There is a ton of great Irish music with all kinds of accordions. Also, what about the French cafe style? That never gets old.And what is wrong with Polka stuff, anyway? Ever been to a Polish or Hungarian wedding? Forget Lawrence Welk! Hey, this story is just started. You are on to something here.
December 10, 2011
I can’t find an active RSS feed to keep up with this website. Would it be possible to activate an RSS feed perhaps for “News”?
November 17, 2011
Hi Rev Wes Miller – We would have loved to include him, too, but for this short piece we decided to highlight not just stars but also ordinary people for whom the accordion holds a special place. Perhaps in the next squeezebox stories installation, when it happens!
November 14, 2011
I read in a Pennsylvania newspaper that Yo Yo Ma has received an accordion as a gift from his wife and is eager to learn to play it. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have him in our family of squeezartists?
Rev Wes Miller
November 13, 2011
An accordion story without Flaco?
November 12, 2011
Wonderful program enjoyed it very much and would like to hear more Accordion Stories – What a wonderful instrument we have and yes there is an accordion renaissance taking place as the instrument moves into and all around the music generes of the world
September 19, 2011
great project Julie. the accordion lends itself to rich storytelling and you have not disappointed in that regard. I look forward to more exploration and discovery on your site. the project makes me think of this guy I used to see in new york. i think he hung out at the 72nd street station on the 2-3 line. of course he looked as sad as the music he was playing. i noticed that he always played with a slight tilt of his body. and i could never figure out if this was a quirk of how he held the instrument or some old injury.
September 14, 2011
We are looking to add new programming for our community broadcasting station so I am curious…is this a one episode show or are there new editions weekly or even monthly?
September 9, 2011
A friend mentioned your show to us. Pretty cool! We’ll tell folks on our Accordion Noir radio show.
Look, these student folks made a film about us!
Bruce Triggs, Accordion Noir Radio
Accordion Noir: world/alt/accordion.
Wednesday 10-11:00 PM, 102.7 FM www.CoopRadio.org
www.AccordionNoir.org / www.AccordionUprising.org
CFRO: Co-op Radio
110 – 360 Columbia St.
Vancouver, BC V6A 4J1
“Ruthlessly pursuing the idea that the accordion is just another instrument.”
September 7, 2011
Thank you so much for this wonderful program. There is indeed an accordion renaissance taking place. People are discovering this wonderful instrument, ether returning to it after putting away because it wasn’t considered cool or learning it for the first time.
I started learning the accordion two years ago, spurred on by a close friend who had taken it up a year earlier. I would always stop and listen to the accordion players on the street and in the subway, transfixed by the sound. After years of playing other instruments including piano, flute and guitar, I finally took the plunge and borrowed a 12 bass accordion from my friend. I was hooked! The accordion is an ingenious instrument and I’ve understood more about music from this instrument than any other. Since I’ve been playing, I’ve also enjoyed learning about all of the different cultures that play the accordion. This instrument has opened my ears and my heart!
Please do some more programs – something on Norteno, Irish/celtic accordion, Russian bayan and, of course, the Argentine bandoneon.