The Blog of Toledo Lucas County Public Library

June Is National Accordion Awareness Month!

Posted over 2 years ago by Amy H

Posted in Movies and Music | Tagged with accordion history, accordion music, musical instrument, polka, streaming music and zydeco

Hip AND Square: Accordions! From polka to zydeco to klezmer music, they’re an important (and incredibly fun) part of American culture and it’s time to appreciate them! June is National Accordion Awareness Month – so channel your inner Lawrence Welk and get those toes a tappin’.

One of my favorite performers is Yann Tiersen who composed and performed the amazing soundtrack for the French film Amelie. There is a piece on Youtube where he plays the piano with one hand and the accordion with the other, because THAT’S how awesome he is. Take a look (the double performance kicks in about 2:50 with a closeup at about 3:33 into the piece):

Let’s see Uncle Myron or that kid from the Brady Bunch talent show episode do THAT! And just from a whimsical accordion standpoint - Yann Tiersen - Le Jour d'Avant:

So what are you waiting for? We’ve got oodles of stuff to celebrate this wonderful, wacky instrument.

Music CDs

The Best of Beau Jocque and the Zydeco Hi-Rollers - Beau JocqueThe Best of Beau Jocque and the Zydeco Hi-Rollers
by Beau Jocque

"Beau Jocque is the stage name of Andrus Espre, a giant of a man who added funk bass, Peter Frampton-style talk-box guitar, and the occasional drum loop to the down-home sound of zydeco in the 1990s and became one of the genre's biggest stars. The Best of Beau Jocque selects 13 tracks from his seven Rounder releases, including originals like "Give Him Cornbread," his biggest hit (which has since become a zydeco standard); "Damballah," a percussive romp named for a voodoo deity; and "Richard's Club," a hard-driving ode to a favorite hangout. Beau Jocque has a deep, rumbling voice that recalls Howlin' Wolf and an infectious danceable accordion style inspired by Boozoo Chavis, but his canny blend of funk, soul, rock, reggae, and zydeco is all his own. Unfortunately, Beau Jocque died of a heart attack in 1999, but his spirit lives on in these recordings, and perhaps more importantly, in the countless zydeco bands that continue to play his songs." - Amazon
The Essential Weird Al YankovicThe Essential Weird Al Yankovic
by Al Yankovic

"Career-spanning collection of tracks hand-picked by Weird Al himself. Yankovic is a true artistic genius in the classic sense of the word. No other artist can parody a song or a music video without being directly compared to the maestro. Throughout his career, Al has offered up an alternate reality of sorts to the history of pop music, lovingly re-casting hits of all genres into bizarre and hilarious songs and videos that themselves have become hits. Al's work became so synonymous with the hits they parodied that Michael Jackson gave Al access to the 'Bad' video set to make his classic 'Fat' video! This is to say nothing of Al's original songs which are as witty and endearing as his parody work." - Amazon
Lay Your Burden Down by Buckwheat ZydecoLay Your Burden Down
by Buckwheat Zydeco

"Stanley 'Buckwheat' Dural leads one of the best bands in America. A down-home and high-powered celebration, meaty and muscular with a fine-tuned sense of dynamics...propulsive rhythms, incendiary performances." - New York Times
Pynandí - los descalzos by Chango SpasiukPynandi: Los Descalzos
by Chango Spasiuk

As a melting pot of people and cultures for more than 300 years, Argentina's Northeast inspired the creation of a unique accordion-based dance repertoire that embraced European instruments, African percussive traditions, and the music of the indigenous Guaraní. The intoxicating result known as chamamé counts Chango Spasiuk among its most eloquent champions.

Streaming Music (hoopla)

The Scottish Accordion Album by The B & C BandThe Celtic Accordion Collection by The B & C Band50 Irish Accordion Favourites by The Sean O'Neill Band
Accordion Special by Bids Accordion BandFrance - 22 Accordion Favourites From Paris by Montmartre Accordion QuartetGermany - 22 Accordion Favourites by Bremen Town Accordions

Books and DVD

Squeeze This! : A Cultural History of the Accordion in America by Marion Jacobson
Mendel's Accordion by Heidi Smith Hyde
Accordion Styles And Techniques [DVD] - taught by Joey Miskulin ; producer and director, Happy Traum

Featured Image Credit: 

Paris Accordion Player 0960 by Jorge Royan

Source:  Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons license)

Related Content