Confessions of a Closet Accordion Lover

**This post was “Freshly Pressed” on March 30, 2011

I have just come to realize that I have a thing about accordions. Weird, you say? Cheesy, maybe? Uncool, you think? Sorry, conclude away, but I am here to confess. Truth be told, it took me a long time to realize it, but I have been enamored of the instrument since Carmella Cartino brought hers to show and tell in 4th grade. My parents didn’t take it very seriously that evening when I told them about it. We were neither Italian nor Polish—the two ethnic groups most associated with accordions in our neck of the woods.

Japanese Accordionist in Rome (I promise as soon as I find his card, I will include his name!)

I probably never gave it much thought again myself until I came to Chile, which is next to Argentina, with whom it shares a love of tango, which uses the bandoneón, which is technically not an accordion at all, but rather of the concertina family, which you can look up yourself on Wikipedia or take my wiki-informed word for it when I tell you that the major difference between these two rather seemingly related bellow and free-reed instruments is that accordions get strapped on and have piano-like keys, while concertinas (including the bandoneón) are smaller and have buttons rather than keys. (Wow, I think that is the run-on-iest sentence I’ve ever written in my life!). Several sites (including Wiki-genius) tell me that the difference is that “concertinas have buttons that travel in the same direction as the bellows, while the keys on the accordion are perpendicular”… whatever that means… which is a long, round-about way of admitting that I know nothing whatsoever about this instrument that has been kicking around in my musical subconscious for many years.


Bandoneon at the Aníbal Troilo Tango Club in Santiago de Chile

So what inspired this post? Inspired, you ask? Yes, inspired. It wasn’t just a belated confession of self-delighted nerdiness, but rather was triggered by a series of coming-togetherness of random events that made me look around and say “Hey! I think I really like accordions!”

It started with a piece on NPR’s All Things Considered the other night about the—get this—Mainsqueeze Orchestra. I am not kidding. It’s a dream-inspired, 14-member, all-female, all-accordion group led by a German immigrant (and accordion shop owner) in NYC (go ahead, check out the link!). I snapped to attention… And I had to face the facts… I have been in denial. Me, a closet squeezebox fan since childhood.

And then I realized that I had shot a bunch of photos of people playing accordion in Italy, which isn’t so surprising, really, except that not all of them were necessarily Italian… and the fact that most of them seemed to be playing “My Way” (why IS that? My Way for Accordion??)

Accordion Trastevere, Rome

"My Way" on the accordion's greatest hits list in Rome, 2011

Which led me to realize that I’ve been taking pictures of accordions for a while now, and I confess I’m not sure how much is due to the music and how much to just how glitzy-pretty the darned things are.

I took tons of the lead singer/accordionist of the Hermanos Morales (kings of the Ranchera in Chile) in Concón a while back because I wanted just the right shot of his spectacular accordion. Check it out:

My favorite accordion! Chilean Ranchera group Hermanos Morales.

Félix Llancafil, Maestro cuequero, 3 x 7 Veintiuna

And Cueca! Accordions are no stranger to the oh-so-Chilean cueca either! Oh! 3 x 7 21 (Tres por Siete Veintiuna) what you do to my quivery heart!
(In the interest of honesty I have to admit that in this case it has far more to do with Daniel Muñoz than with the accordion!)


And Klezmer, Balkan, Gypsy music? Don’t get me started!

So the coincidences keep adding up, because March 11 rolls around and sha-bam, I discover that it would have been Astor Piazzola’s 90th birthday… Oh come on… you do too know who he is! One of the greatest tangueros and bandoneón players who ever lived. Yeah, I know, I know! A bandoneón belongs to the concertina family, which is not the same as an accordion… but they both have bellows and the ability to bend and twist a note that wrings my soul dry and hangs it out to flutter in the breeze…

And then, to top it off, I’m shuffling through papers on my desk and come across an article I had clipped who knows when, about (of all things) the first Chilean Accordion Music Conservatory in San Bernardo. Whoah! I think I need to meet these people. It’s as if it were some kind of cosmic sign telling me to pick up an accordion and play, baby, play!

Ya po. A ver… For now I think I’m still capable of resisting the celestial forces and sticking to just admiring from afar these deliciously eye-candyish, soul-tickling instruments (and ahem! getting on with that long-overdue thesis project that’s already underway!!). But for any of YOU who might be tempted to strap on some bellows and keys and spend six, yes, count-em six, years of professional accordion study, here’s the skinny…

Conservatorio Nacional de Acordeón
Barros Arana #787 – San Bernardo.
Telefono: 09-82272789
Fax: 02-5435568


138 responses to “Confessions of a Closet Accordion Lover

  1. I am surprised and I am not. Surprised that you felt you had to go into a long explanation in order to justify your love for the accordion. Hope we haven’t reached the state where we have to get consensus or general approval in order to confess our liking for things.
    On the other hand I am not at all surprised by your undying love for this colorful musical instrument. My beloved Irish-Canadian partner and wife has a magnetic attraction towards “Tierra del fuego” in Chile. She confessed to me to have first seen a map of the area as a child in school in Ireland, and becoming hooked and fascinated with that area.

    But her love for all things Chilean and Latin American does not stop there. I practically have to put blinders on her whenever she sees a Huaso in Chile. I’m sure her heart starts ‘over revving’ and she goes into an immediate case of hyperventilation. And let’s say nothing of the rare times we run into a ‘chinchinero’ doing their colorful dance. She completely loses it. See, you are not alone in having such an affinity towards things or people that were never part of your background. Go out and do a “tango”.

  2. Accordions are cool, i love them too.

  3. Alright Tomás! I KNEW I couldn’t be alone out there!

  4. @John-
    I am sure that I would really like your wife!! I love chinchineros and will go blocks out of my way to find them whenever I hear them (they’re pretty hard to miss!)
    And perhaps my “long explanation” is partly to convince myself as much as any of you about the whole accordion thing. And for ther record–I wouldn’t go anywhere so far as to say it’s an “undying love”! More like a curious fascination. I don’t have it all straight in my mind yet–what I like or don’t, but I find it interesting that I have suddenly recognized this attraction. There’s the whole visual aesthetic that I really like, and then the aural part, that sometimes attracts and sometimes no. Anything in a minor key will get me straight away (tango, klezmer), while I could really do without the seemingly endless “My Way” repertoire we came across in Italy.
    So how about it–anyone else in there feel the draw? Or are Tomás and I holding our own here?

  5. Very nice. The connections fascinate me-thanks for including so many. We’re not so very different-our mistake in any country is to think we are like no one else. Japanese Accordionist in Rome….you just gotta love it!

    On another note, I thought of Chile as we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day here in the US-another one of those silly US holidays. Your post about groundhog day made me think…so we pinch people that don’t wear green, the Irish pub nearby had bagpipes and exotic drinks and we had (cheap) corned beef and cabbage….we do love our silly holidays….

  6. I love accordions too! They are just fun to see and hear-no Margaret, you are not alone. C’mon, who didn’t love the scene in Lady and the Tramp 🙂

  7. Oh dear…I better climb in the closet with you! They have accordians in Portugal…well I think they are accordians…but the point is they are great to dance to. Yes, I am not ashamed to admit I dance to anything from Zumba to the Portuguese two-step. We have dances in our local town square and it’s great fun as the accordian player works his magic. Sometimes, if we are lucky, he also sings in tune 🙂 !

  8. I am sure the two of you will hit it off when we meet in Chile. In addition to her immense liking for all things Chilean, as any good Irish citizen, she has a wicked sense of humour. I don’t want to give you the wrong impression about ‘R’, but she can enjoy and consume a “substantial” amount of wine also. Given a chance, I’m sure she’d have no qualms about “dancing on tables”, 🙂

  9. Wow! who knew that Cachando Chile had so many accordion fans out there!
    @Laura–Yes! St Patrick’s is another one of “those” holidays! My mother was actually surprised to learn that they don’t celebrate here in Chile… “But it’s a Catholic country!” she said in surprise! (Yeah, like Green beer and shamrocks have a whole lot to do with international Catholicism!) Yet another fun day Chileans miss out on!

    @PiP–Yes indeed there are accordions and concertinas in Portugal! You also have the wonderful FADO music! Love it!

    @John- R’s a potential table-dancer, huh? Sounds like fun!

  10. Just found this nice video of a young woman playing a button accordion in Portugal.
    LOVE the instrument!
    The song is “ROSINHA DOS LIMÕES ”

  11. That’s great Margaret, thanks. She is very musical 🙂 I’ve added it to my Youtube page! Hmmmyes, I love Fado. Mr Piglet bought me another CD for Christmas.

    (a little off topic but I’m intrigued – how did you add a video or picture to comments, please? (you can email if it’s easier))

  12. Hi Pip-
    I have no idea who she is, but she sure is talented!
    We also have a collection of Fado, such as Madre Deus and Mísia, who was recommended to us by a young woman in Oporto. I love it when young performers (and fans) take their traditional music and make it their own… such as is the case with Chile’s Cueca Chora and Argentina’s NarcoTango…

    The video was easy- just pasted the link into the comment box was all!
    If you want to include it in your posts, the process is a little different. In YouTube, hit the “embed” button, copy the code, and paste that into your post. Easy as that!

  13. Thanks for tip! Useful to know 🙂 Sometimes a video saves a 1000 words 🙂

  14. No problem / Yep / and they’re fun too!
    Happy Saturday!

  15. I’m with John, this post had a weird angle from the start….you set this up like an embarrasing confession haha….but who wouldn’t like accordions?

    In Valparaiso almost all accordion players in the streets play the soundtrack from Amelie (OK, easy to love- its great! But variety is cool too).
    You should definitely try to play. It seems like a lot of coordination is needed!

  16. hahaha- OK Lydia–it’s just that I never really thought about liking accordions and it was a big surprise to me to actually realize that I DO like them! It’s taking me a while to get comfortable with the idea!
    Although I’ll skip the Amelie… a coworker used to play it all the time and it drove me nuts.
    I think it WOULD be fun to play one… or maybe a concertina–a bit smaller and more manageable, but you’re right, I’m sure the whole coordination thing–2 hands doing different things plus the pulling and squeezing to boot–must take an awful lot of practice to become even mildly competent!
    For now I think I’ll just stick to trying to figure out how to do that cool thumb thing on a tambourine…and then learn to play platillos!

  17. Hi, Margaret. I loved your note on accordions, and the comments it has elicited. Personally, I associate accordions with France—and I don’t think I am the only one to do so. If you can, try to read the text “Elogio del acordeón” by Pío Baroja.
    As for Saint Patrick’s day, it seems that we Chileans are celebrating it now.

  18. Hi Raúl. Thanks! And yes, I know many people do associate accordions with France, but since I have never been there (yet!) it’s not my top of mind association.
    ¡qué lindo texto! Gracias por presentarmelo!
    “¡Oh modestos acordeones! ¡Simpáticos acordeones! Vosotros no contáis grandes mentiras poéticas, como la fastuosa guitarra; vosotros no inventáis leyendas pastoriles, como la zampoña o la gaita; vosotros no lle­náis de humo la cabeza de los hombres, como las estridentes cornetas o los bélicos tambores. Vosotros sois de vuestra época: humildes, sinceros, dulcemente plebeyos, quizá ridículamente plebeyos; pero vosotros decís de la vida lo que quizá la vida es en realidad: una melodía vulgar, monótona, ramplona, ante el horizonte ilimitado…”
    el final del “Elógio sentimental del acordeón” de Pío Baroja

  19. I guess it really is “like mother like daughter”!
    I reciently came to the conclusion that accordians are pretty cool too when I caught myself frequently listening to a pop song (a pop song!?!) that features the accordion, and it occured to me that it was that instrument’s sound that kept catching my attention. (But don’t ask me who the artist is ~ I have absolutely no idea)

  20. Hey there kid-o-mine! You too, huh? First–you’re listening to pop songs now? Wow! Not like you were ever into heavy metal or anything, but still–how times change!
    So, looks like accordions are getting a whole new image…Cool!
    And let me know about that song when you figure it out…
    Have you listened to klezmer music at all? I know you always like the clarinet… and the combination (to me) adds up to klezmer!

  21. One more comment. Look at the picture from the Aníbal Troilo Tango Club; the guy playing the violin is playing it “upside down”: the instrument in his right hand and the bow in his left hand. That is how Charles Chaplin taught himself to play the violin in his childhood, I am told.

  22. Bah! Raúl! How observant you are! That is the Gran Enrique Erazo! One of the best tangueros de Chile! One of my husband’s good friends from the old days. He (my husband) first trained as a classical guitarrist and then played nights (often with Enrique) to pay his way through his under- and post-graduate studies in literature. Oh the stories he can tell about Enrique… un personaje total, and one of his absolute favorite people in the music world! If you enjoy tango at all, I highly recommend an evening in Aníbal Troilo Tango Club on Ricardo Cumming (near San Pablo). Wonderful!

  23. I love accordion too! Nive travel in Italia!

  24. Hi Pascale, I believe you’re French, aren’t you? If so, has accordion (or concertina) music been a big part of your musical heritage?

  25. Tell me, Margaret, what can I do to have my picture posted (or pasted) in your blog?

  26. OK, so Im in the minority here, but accordions, concertinas, that entire family on instruments drive me LOCA. Like fingernails on chalkboard, screaming baby in nearby seat row annoying the sound they squeak out are to me.

    Luckily, Cuba is more a maracas/cajon/chequere kind of place.

    Lovely learning about Chile here.

  27. hahaha- See? I KNEW it! Not EVERYONE loves ’em! I never really took them very seriously and was therefore surprised when I realized that there’s just something about them that’s snuggling up to my good side!
    The cajón is big here too. Maracas, mm, not so much, but they’re around, mostly for tropical music. But what’s a chequere?
    Thanks for stopping by Conner! I really enjoy your site too (everyone else… go check out “Here is Havana” (kind of a “Cachando Cuba” sort of blog!)
    Oh wait! I see you have a NEW blog! Can’t wait to dig in!

  28. I share your love of accordions, too. So much so that I stopped a street musician outside metro Salvador last year and asked him to give me lessons, which never worked out because, man, accordions are expensive! At least I have the children’s accordion with 3 buttons that Italo bought me to hold me over until I can afford a real one.

    Have you ever seen the film Schultze gets the Blues?? It’s great and features the accordion

  29. Waaa! ¿En serio? You really asked the guy for lessons? Cool! (I cornered one of los Trukeros to teach me the tambourine thumb trick once, but I STILL can’t get it down!)
    And sooo sweet that Italo bought you a training-wheels accordion!!
    Nope, never saw Schultze gets the Blues… I’ll look for it! Thanks

  30. Of course “accordion musette” comes always with old french songs, like the one of Edith Piaf. Also Serge Gainsbourg wrote a song about accordions.
    A very nice (love) french song: “mon amant de saint jean”, played in accordion:

    Buon giorno in Italia! (also a country for lovers..)

  31. Hi Pascale- Thanks for the video clip… Very nice!
    And on the visual side, it really amazes me how many different styles of accordion there are… and gave me an idea. I’d love to know more and wonder if
    (1) there’s anyone who could give an “Intro to Accordion” type presentation–one that would explain the different aspects of the instrument, the variations (accordion, concertina & variations) the difference between button type and key type, etc. and
    (2) if there’s anyone else who would be interested in attending such an event?

  32. I can’t stop now!!
    One more, from the song of Edith Piaf: padam, padam…

    Cet air qui m’obsède jour et nuit/ Cet air n’est pas né d’aujourd’hui/ Il vient d’aussi loin que je viens… (This song obsesses me night and day/This song is not the sort written today/It comes from as far away as I come from …)

  33. And the very very last one (I have to work now,it is not yet the week end..)
    “La foule” (the crowd), Edith Piaf:

    Nice week-end in Italia (you’re lucky to be there!)

  34. ¡qué linda la canción! And there’s Horner in the corner too!
    Thanks Pascale!

  35. I only learnt the word “bandoneón” the other week thanks to an student from Argentina. I had uploaded a video (to YouTube) of a guy playing one in La Boca, B.A. and had called it accordeon out of ignorance. I was politely corrected. 🙂
    Then I remember looking up the word in English… which I also had to learn (and have now forgotten).
    Rob W.

  36. Hi Rob-uuu call a bandoneón an accordion in front of un tanguero? UUU! You should go to a tanguería sometime, there are several in Santiago. a very different world… amazing places!
    Can’t imagine what else it might be called in English, except maybe a concertina (which might be the generic name for that branch of the family).

  37. I think there is something uber-sexy about the accordion.

    There, I’ve said it: I have a crush on most accordion players! They are HOT! 😉

  38. I love how we all have our own interests and passions. Thanks for sharing yours!

  39. I worked a show with Daniel Mille, French accordion player, and that’s when I realized it’s a truly romantic sounding instrument.

  40. congrats on coming out of the (accordian) closet!

  41. Yikes! I too may be a closeted accordian lover! Great post and congrats on being Freshly Pressed. Hang on for the ride–and don’t drop the accordian!

  42. She is very talented! I love the accordian, my favourite movie soundtrack is Amelie for that very reason. We have an old Romainian lady here in my city who plays the accordian in town, it is lovely to listen to!

  43. Accordions are very photogenic and its constructional make up awes me. Are you going to learn to play it?

  44. Accordians are super fun!!Thanks for sharing.

  45. My uncle used to play the according for us when we were younger. My cousins and I would dance around the livingroom arm in arm for hours. Ahhh, the good old days!

  46. Margaret, Thanks for sharing your story about your passion for the accordion since you were little. I have a little confession myself. My sister and I played accordion when we were younger and we played for about 10 years!! My parents are portuguese and came to this country when they were young and it is common in Portugal for people to play the accordion. My sister and I were in many competitions and also appeared on my uncle’s local Portuguese televison show a few times. We would go to lessons once a week for 2 hours and had to practice everyday for an hour. Playing the accordion was something my sister and I loved to do and as a matter of fact we still have a couple of them that we just couldn’t come to get rid of!! I am so glad and thankful that my parents introduced my sister and I to an instrument that not many people play around here. It’s an experience I will always remember and treasure. Thanks for sharing your story as well 🙂

  47. Love the accordion! My wife played accordion while growing up here in OC. It has a wonderful full sound that can touch the heart and soul!

  48. My Irish grandmother played the accordion. She was great fan of Lawrence Welk…loved his polka tunes. I have to applaud anyone who has mastered this instrument, I suppose you need good “multitasking” genes, and I missed that boat for sure. Thank you for refreshing my happy accordion memories.

  49. If you like accordion, go to YouTube and look up a dude named Ruslan Slinko. He plays Baroque music on the thing — good enough to make your jaw drop.

  50. Congratulations on setting a new world record for having the most accordion pictures in a single blog! Well done.



  51. Wow! THIS was a surprise! I was teaching this morning and snuck a peek at my emails during a break and saw tons of messages from WordPress related to this post. Had to wait to get home to discover that it had been PRESSED! (check out for today, March 29–and there it is top row center!) Gotta admit I’m pretty happy to see that sitting there looking so proud and spiffy!
    And thanks everyone for your comments–AND for letting me know that I’m not the only one in the room with my eye (and ear) on the accordion!

  52. @Mikalee-if you think the accordion is uber-sexy you should really check out the bandoneón! here’s one for starters:

  53. @Simple Life: Yep! It’s about passion!
    @Cookiegeisha- WOW! Thanks for that spectacular link (Daniel Mille)–I foresee more you-tubing around THAT name in my near future!
    @Dearexgirlfriend & @Kathryn M: Come out, come out, wherever you are! Break down the closet door–Accordions front & center
    @Katie & @Lakia- Yes, they ARE fun!
    @ournote2self @Reana Rose @James R @Jo McGurik- thanks for sharing your stories!

  54. @fireandair WOW! That guy is incredible! Thanks for the heads’ up!
    Check this out– Ruslan Slinko

  55. I associate accordions with rancheros… I enjoyed the Balkan Accordion!

  56. @Ava Aston- Now there’s something to aspire to–setting the record for the most accordions on one post— really think I’ve hit it yet? Didn’t even realize I was trying–but with all the suggestions for new links, I just might! It looks like this must be one of the most versatile instruments on earth
    @leadinglight-most versatile and most beautiful! I am amazed by the variations every time I see a new one!

  57. this was a great, cosmic, sychronistic and somehow agriculturally relevant piece on the confluence of celestial and fingered forces…know what I mean jelly bean? But…that’s BUT!!! you forget to mention…no, in point of fact you did not know otherwise you would have written it unless youi’re repressing your dork…The American Society of Dorks Worldwide has endorsed the ACCORDIAN as their OFFICIAL INSTRUMENT. They never have so much as mentioned anything called a “concertina”…. or “buttons” for that matter although many of them do sew. As a member of said Society I can tell you because I’ve actually functioned at various times as psychotherapist for their “inner circle” where the true source of dork is kept that you, my dear, are a DORK and because I’m smart I know you’re a girl…don’t even try to deny it….therefore, you are a DORKUS who probably doesn’t even know what city’s she’s in or even the color of the bus for that matter. Still, I enjoyed your piece. Be warned however: once you have released the compression that binds your inner Dork to your soul you will be accompanying yourself on the accordian or my name isn’t whatever it is….
    Please post this version as the other one is missing the word “name” which is significant somehow. Thank you. Would you like a little dork on that?

  58. @blackshepard Hahaha- Yep, takes a Dork to know a Dorkus! (that and, well, yeah, looking at my picture’s probably a pretty good hint). Curious about the “agriculturally relevant” part, but since I’ve just come straight from teaching a course on biodynamic viticulture, it certainly is uncannily relevant that you mention that just now! So, where do I download my Official Dorkus Sticker to smack on my forehead and wear proudly as I start the South American chapter of the Dork Society, which will declare the concertina ITS official instrument. We can all meet up along the Panama Canal and have a raucously great time!

  59. @blackshepard-OK- DONE! Request granted / text replaced (Oh what power I wield!)

  60. @mixtape- Yep- accordions & rancheros go together like margaritas & salt!

    @Blackshepard- ya know, I was thinking about that city & bus color comment— and I DO know what city I’m in AND the fact that the buses are green & white (except when they’re yellow or blue)… but maybe it’s just one of those south-of-the-equator dork things!

  61. Great variety of accordion photographs. I also have an affinity for the instrument, but I can blame it on the fact that I’m part Polish.

  62. @My Camera Thanks- I got carried away when I started to realize just how many different types of instrument and styles of music there are!
    BTW- really loved the liquid experiments on your blog! (and you have a picture of the Instamatic w/flashcubes! My very first camera!–awww the nostalgia!)

  63. I too have a love for the accordions – though mine has been more Irish influenced as I do Irish dancing. Though pretty much anything played on the accordion sounds amazing to me. Anyways, this love actually led me to take up the instrument as it just so happened my former boss has played it for years and gave me an extra accordion she had. I’ve had a years worth of lessons and I’m painfully slow, but it’s an amazing instrument and I can’t wait to progress further.

  64. I love accordions! There are lots of them in Irish music, especially the dance music – go to a dance contest and it’ll all be accordions or keyboards. I would like to play one, but I am a very small person so I think one of those little concertinas would be better. If I’m ever rich and famous, I will buy an accordion.

    There’s a shop in Lille, France, that sells accordions. Unfortunately it was shut when I went there 😦

    Congratulations on Freshly Pressed, by the way!

  65. Ok, duly noted… when @Delorfinde is rich and famous, we will have another (small) accordionist in the world!
    Thanks for stopping by… and for noticing the Freshly Pressed bit!

  66. I love the instrument… always have. Something about the resonance, I think.

  67. @Johnhodapp–Yes, it’s one of those things that either gets you–or not! And just saying I like accordions certainly does not mean I like ALL accordion music… some just really hits closer to home that others!

  68. Wow, did someone really say there is something ” Uber Sexy about accordion players?” Well Damn, I better not tell that person that I play the spoons rather well, and perhaps I should make a confession about it. i would have to say there is no such thing as an instrument which has some innate sexy mojo giving powers, but rather the people behind them which use that instrument to build upon their own projection unto the world.

  69. The accordion is such a beautiful, versatile instrument. A few years ago I organised a night in celebration of the accordion, called Squeeze, inviting accordion players to showcase the versatility of this instrument. Well, it was such a great night, we organised another, for the hundreds of accordion lovers who appeared out of the woodwork. Nice post!

  70. @Esko–Ahhh! the SPOONS!! Pretty cool actually… and I’ve been planning to write up a piece about atypical instruments that typically appear in Chilean music, which means there a very special place right there for the “platillos” (saucers)…
    And yes, I agree, not all accordion players are sexy… (nor is all accordion music, for that matter), but the potential is there! And maybe @Mikalee has some supporting arguments she’d like to share?

  71. @Travelisinmymind– You really did that? I actually presented a similar idea to a friend with a perfect restaurant-bar venue, and we’re hoping we can pull it off! You came up with the perfect name too, although I’m not sure we can find anything equally as clever in Spanish.

  72. the accordion actually looks like a difficult instrument to play with so much going on. I first saw the accordion when steve urkel started playing it on family matters, then i saw it somewhere else and thought it was actually a pretty cool instrument. i dont think anything is wrong with an accordion, any instrument that someone can play is always good. nice post

  73. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! Obviously you are not alone. I too love the accordion, but for different reasons. Anyone who has read The Book Thief will understand.
    Great, quirky post. Thanks for sharing.

  74. @enjoibeing thanks! And yes, it does seem very complicated! I mean, lots of instruments have the 2 hands doing different things at the same time, but this includes that extra squeezing-pulling layer of complexity to it as well.

  75. And it looks like you’re not the only one with a thing for accordians! Check out this post and the associated comments… There’s a whole other world out there that I didn’t know about…

  76. @Louise– The Book Thief? Now I’m intrigued! I popped over to your blog to see if you had a review–didn’t find one (may I request a search button?) And thanks for the compliments. C’mon back, there’s still plenty of quirk to be found around here!

  77. I may now be an accordion lover. Thanks for the good read.

  78. @Christian- thanks for the great link! Lenin & Accordions! Who knew?

  79. I love them too. I was always facinated by them, ever since I was a child. It’s funny that this was freshly pressed though, because just last week a friend of mine sent me a letter, and he was teasing me but he said “How is your life and by that I mean are you learning to play the accordian?”
    He then went on to tell me of a band called DEVOTCHKA who use some heavy accordian. Here is the video he refered me to:


    Anyways, I just thought I would share.

  80. I have played the accordion for about twelve years and I still love it. You should check out the music from the movie Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain. It’s composed by Yann Tiersen and there really are some wonderful pieces! Tiersen himself plays the accordion beautifully and well, just really French. I really recommend everyone to watch it sometime.
    Another famous one here in the Netherlands is Adios Noniño, played by Carel Kraayenhof, for the wedding of prince Willem-Alexander and his wife Máxima – she’s from Argentina, so a tango piece is played in the church and it’s beautiful.

    Anyway, it’s good to see that there are still many accordion lovers out there! Thanks for posting!

  81. Oh, I’m forgetting one thing… look up the Fugue from Bach on accordion on youtube! It’s amazing! I played it myself, what a piece of music…

  82. Hey, there are a lot of us out here who appreciate both your honesty, and your appreciation of accordion music.

    And how funny that for you it meant Polish and Italian (folk) music. For me it has always meant French and Swedish (folk) music. (Think Piaf’s “L’accordioniste” and oh, I don’t know, SO MANY soulful Swedish melodies…)

    I guess it comes down to being about homegrown, homemade folk music.

    I’m not always necessarily all that crazy about folk music myself.

    Unless, of course, there’s an accordion inv0lved. 🙂

  83. Thanks everybody for all the links. I’m going to have an accordion jamboree over the next few days. What a wonderful find!

  84. I was recently introduced to an instrument which may have been a concertina, or possibly a harmonium. In any case, when it was turned on, it made noise all by itself. I was fascinated.
    I like accordions, too.

  85. Great post, Margaret. I’m a professional church organist and pianist (ret.) and many years ago I was associated with a small church that didn’t yet have an instrument. Someone turned up with an accordion upon which I quickly learned to play the hymns for services. I had fun, and was almost sorry when the piano finally arrived. And I didn’t even know there was an Irish connection! No wonder my heart warms to hear good accordion playing.

  86. Pingback: Not Quite As Cool As A Leg-Lamp Award, But Still Cool « Aaron D. Graham

  87. Hey, I loved your blog and have decided to nominate you for the “Versatile Blogger Award” This was handed down to me, and I now leave it in your capable hands. If you chose to accept this honor, there are some obligations. Not many. Just 3. (Technically there are 23, but who’s counting)

    Seriously though, I did enjoy your post. You can read about your blog here:

  88. I have always loved the accordion. I love the song that the Who did in the seventies “Mama’s Got A Squeezebox”. The words are a hoot. I just heard Devotchka’s latest album and it has some fine accordion as well as a lot of other inspired and fascinating music.
    There are a lot of jokes about banjos too. I think that could be a great combo accordion and banjo maybe throw in a cello and a french horn.

  89. Pingback: The Book Theif « The Yearnal

  90. Accordions, huh? I’ve never really thought about that before. I love music a lot and consequently, I love most musical instruments, but I confess that I’ve never held an accordian in my life! Thanks for the post!

  91. @Margaret – I wouldn’t have got here if it weren’t for being Freshly Pressed. In fact, that’s how I find most blogs … very handy thing, that.
    And yes, I will totally be the midget accordion player in the corner. Though not really midget. Just a bit small.

  92. I may now be an accordion lover

  93. For lovers of Accordions
    Restauraciones en curso. Acordeones / Works in progress. Accordions.
    Nueva página blog de Acordeones/ New Accordion´s blog.
    la Colección de F.P. Luthier. Es una selección de las mejores
    unidades nuevas y restauradas; Acordeón de piano y de
    botones. Instrumentos para profesionales y coleccionistas./

    F.P. Luthier ´s Collection. A selection of the best ones new
    and recovered units; Piano-Accordion and buttons. Instruments
    for professionals musicians and collectors./
    Excelsior, Dallapé, Frontalini, Cooperativa, Scandalli, Hohner …
    Sonidos/ Sounds: Organtone/ Octavino; Celeste suave, blanco; Mussete,
    -full Mussete.

    Saludos desde España/ Greetings from Spain.
    FP. Luthier

  94. amazing what a perfect music , while i try this it make my mind as smooth. such a wonder post. by eGrove

  95. Wow, I caught a show on TV just last week about how accordions are made. I had no idea this instrument is sooo complicated! Fabric and wood and metal and I don’t even remember what all else. Makes the violin I played in school seem simple. I was embarrassed to be in orchestra back then; nerds weren’t cool yet. But like the other poster said, no need to justify your love for this instrument!

  96. I’d to learn to play! It sounds really great.

  97. Thanks for making me smile. I had a few family members that played the accordion, and when I was very young, my parents first started me out with lessons for almost a year before I moved on to the piano at my urging. As a young kid, I would jokingly refer to it as the instrument of humility – not exactly an instrument kids would brag about to other kids at the time. Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate its musical qualities, along with its benefit of being a self-contained and portable instrument, bringing fun to any gathering. Traveling to Argentina and Chile has certainly reinforced that notion.

    Now you have me wondering if my father still has my uncle’s accordion stuffed away in his attic storage…

  98. Wow…love it! I’m a HUGE fan of accordions…even follow a lot of bands who use them regularly in their music (Decemberists…etc.) I often use them in my flash fiction stories too! Great post.

  99. That guy playing Talijanska near the top of the page gets into my soul every time I hear it played. How can a box of bits of wood and leather be used to provide such expression? I too am an accordian player, and was very influenced as a child by an old record my parents had of Jimmy Shand, a famous Scottish bandleader. I wanted to learn to make a sound like that on the accordian, but didn’t start playing until I was in my late 30’s. The good news is it is possible!

  100. The Talijanska is beautiful! Did you learn to play it? Glad to hear there’s still time… but something tells me I’ll be happy enough sticking to the listening/watching side of this fascinating instrument!

  101. So much accordion love in one place! LOL… I guess I’ll have to come out of the closet too. I was just thinking yesterday while listening to Regional Mexican music, “You know what, I love accordion… I must never tell anyone.” … jijiji.

    Great post. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed, amiga!

  102. Wow- look what happens when I turn my back for a moment! The blog fills up with wonderful comments! Thank you all for such wonderful comments, stories, feedback and suggestions for more listening pleasure! If I get industrious enough, I will compile a list all in one place… but don’t expect that too soon, although a friend and I ARE cooking up something special along this line for anyone in Santiago! (More on that as it develops)

    @aarongraham Thanks for the nomination–will take that up with you over at your place! (

    @acleansurface-if you ever figure out what that mysterious instrument is, please let us know!

    @Kathleen M: Accordion in the church-fun! And did the choir sing along? I can just imagine Rock of Ages on the accordion!

    @Randymyriad–I had forgotten all about Mama’s got a squeezebox (The Who) !! listening to it right now-thanks for taking me back!
    Here’s a version by Tenacious D:

  103. @bandoneones- Muchísimas gracias por su link. Me encantaría ver cómo se hace un acordeón o bandoneón… ¿Podría ir a visitarles la próxima vez que estamos en España? (sería genial!)

    I wonder who makes accordions in Chile? There must be someone???
    Anyone know? (¿Alguien sabe quién hace acordeones en Chile?)

  104. On a tangential note, use of the accordion in Mariachi and Polka music attracted me to include them in my short story “The Bestial Cult of Hathor,” the abridged audiobook is on YouTube.

    The comparison represents the migratory nature of intangible experiences – such as, what the heck is an Egyptian Goddess doing in a backwards, Swiss ethnic town in Southern Wisconsin. Readers still didn’t get it, so I added the information about Celtic mercenaries working for the Romans to Terry’s convoluted stream of thought.

  105. @Phil- ¿See? You were cool before your time!
    @dennisfinocchiaro- am looking forward to reading some of your accordion-inspired stories–loved your blog–great topic! I also invent stories about the people I watch–just rarely take the next step of developing & writing them… glad you do! I’ll be reading!

  106. Hi Tracy: Why didn’t you include your link?? or are you still not ready to come COMPLETELY out of the accordion closet?(I won’t blow your cover, just in case!) Loved your comment, but as you see… it seems you can shout if from the rooftops if you like!

    @isylumn looking forward to hearing that story!

  107. I inherited an accordion from my grandfather about a year ago am determined to learn to play. Thanks for the inspiration!

  108. @Free to Venture: Wow- Go for it! What a great way to remember him (I assume he played?)

  109. Wow-can this be for real? Can this much incredible sound come from just ONE instrument? this kid is amazing!
    Nerdy Kid Shreds on the Accordion – Watch more Funny Videos

  110. I love your photographs, and I love to hear the accordion played so beautifully. Although I rarely see one now, it was one of the magical instruments of my childhood. I’ve written about it on my blog too. Thank you so much for sharing your appreciation of it.

  111. I always thought accordions were “square”…was I wrong!

  112. @Andrea- Thanks! and BTW- I stopped by your wonderful blog (I’ll be back for more!) in hopes of finding that accordion piece, but couldn’t. How about adding a search button? It would be most helpful.

    @Sister Earth- yep, I did too… but since it was pretty dark in that closet, I just didn’t see all the fun, nerdy coolness all around me!

  113. Thanks for coming by, Margaret. Here’s my accordion piece:
    A search button is a good idea. I don’t know how to do it but will try to figure it out.

  114. @Andrea- LOVED that piece! What a great story! And I had never given it a thought that the YOU-KNOW-WHO in your story (I won’t give away more than the initials L.W.) started as an accordion player! These things are just EVERYWHERE!
    About the search button- go to your dashboard, open the “appearance” section and check your widgets. There should be one for “search” easy as that!

  115. So glad you liked it, Margaret. It was so much fun to write it.
    Thanks much for the search button instructions. Done!

  116. So glad I’m not the only accordian lover. What a beautiful ode to an underappreciated instrument! And a very impressive run-on sentence, indeed.

  117. Great! Glad that worked!

  118. Thanks pinkunderbelly! Loved your answers to the “problem drinking” quiz! I’d give you an A+. Also enjoyed the fact that you corrected its grammar!!

  119. Don’t forget the Germans! I went to a gathering in a tiny town in Iowa given by someone who had lived in Germany for many years. I’ll never forget the question I was asked, that gave me pause: Do you LIKE accordion music?
    Had never given it much thought before, but after an entire evening of leiderhosen, schnitzel and Hitler memorabilia, the answer was: Hmmm…..

  120. Yes, Germany of course!… but Hitler memorabilia? Ouch!

  121. Pingback: Accordion « Flickr Comments

  122. greetings by
    I’ve set a link there to your wonderful accordion article …

  123. @Frizztext Thanks!! Ahhh Tnago! Love the link! (and would really like to know if this is bandoneón or accordion or a combination??? (I’ve ready declared my ignorance… what I want now is to LEARN!!)

  124. Loved your piece. The first time I strapped on an accordion I was a goner. Same deal: disdained it, ignored it all my life. then one day I felt the bellows move against my chest, and the rest is history. I’m an amateur, I forsake my Gabbanelli (red, sequined) for months at a time. But it led me to write a novel about a different instrument that I discovered one day while looking for accordion CDs. Music tricks us into loving life, even when we are trying so hard to be “responsible,” don’t you think? thanks again for the inspired piece. Check out the <abbr title="glass harmonica" (an instrument so potent it was banned).

  125. Just what I like to read about. Reflecting on past growing up with Accordion players, very much appreciate your post.
    Thanks for sharing I already subscribed to your blog.
    africasiaeuro wordpress

  126. Hi Africasiaeuro- Thanks for stopping by–and for subscribing! Just snatched a peek at your blog–you DO get around! Would love to see and “About” page! And have you written about growing up with accordion players? I’d love to know more!

  127. Great post! The accordion is such an under-appreciated instrument

  128. The other day my yoga teacher (yes, I know) asked me what I was thinking about because he saw I was off in never-never land. I said “nothing” and he smirked and walked away. The truth was that I was thinking about the accordion in a song by Les Negresses Vertes called Commes Toujour… You are not alone!

  129. Congratulations on your great site- this is what makes blogs special.

  130. the accordion actually looks like a difficult instrument to play with so much going on. I first saw the accordion when steve urkel started playing it on family matters, then i saw it somewhere else and thought it was actually a pretty cool instrument. i dont think anything is wrong with an accordion, any instrument that someone can play is always good. nice post

  131. Tell me, Margaret, what can I do to have my picture posted (or pasted) in your blog?

  132. There it is! your gravatar appears!

  133. My grandmother loves this instrument! Thanks for sharing!

  134. Pingback: Blogger Tag and My Seven (Just Seven?) Links | Cachando Chile: Reflections on Chilean Culture

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s