If you thought that a girl in the band who happens to be an accordion player, could not be “a force to be reckoned with,” and if you are among those that believe that there is little work for accordionists out there, Gee Rabe will make you think differently.
Gee Rabe fronts her own retro lounge band, “Gigi and her Atomic Hipsters” and also her alternative polka trio, “Pretzel Express.” An accordionist since 1975, Gee, (or GiGi), earned her Doctorate in Ethnomusicology at the University of California, also a Master’s degree from UCLA and a Bachelor’s degree in music performance from California State University/Long Beach. Gee is an authority on the steel drum, as well as the piano accordion, starting a steel band program at California State University/ Northridge, where she has been a lecturer for decades. She also has been a teaching associate at UCLA in the Department of Ethnomusicology, teaching classes on the music of Mexico, the Caribbean, the Americas and Europe.
Her performance credentials are extensive. Gee has recorded for television, radio, and film and performs with many bands in Los Angeles as a piano accordionist or steel drum player. Her major awards for her performance include the Accordion Federation of North America’s virtuoso (Western classical) and virtuoso jazz competitions.
Gee Rabe previously performed with the Grammy-nominated group, Lisa Haley and the Zydekats. She has performed and recorded with “Halo Circus,” a band created by Allison Iraheta of American Idol and Latin American Idol fame. Also, Gee has been seen and heard with “World of Warcraft” composer David Arkenstone, jazz guitarist Richard Smith and his “Nuevo Tango” project and Latin Grammy winning “Lucky Diaz & The Family Jam Band.” She was the featured accordionist with Josh Groban for a PBS special, and guest artist with the Pacific Symphony,
Gee has recorded for award-winning composers Randy Newman, Jack Allocco, David Kurtz as well as many others. She has also recorded for the children’s music duo Greg and Steve, J. Kahn of “E.T.” fame, the alternative band “Never Shout Never,” film producer Mary Sweeney, and musician/actor Micky Dolenz. Her accordion playing can be heard in films including “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2,” “Monsters University,” “Puss in Boots,”“Ice Age 4,” and “Hotel Transylvania.” She also recorded accordion parts for the Disney ride “Toy Story. ”
Gee Rabe was the accordionist on a prank for the TBS reality game show “Deal With It” and has been featured in an episode of Craigslist TV called “Accordion Idol.” Other television appearances include “The Jimmy Kimmel Show,” “The Young and the Restless,” and “KMEX-Univision Primera Edición.” She was the accordionist in the Getty Villa production “Tug of War,” which received outstanding national reviews, was featured on a segment of the CBS News Sunday Morning.
Gee Rabe is well known in Los Angeles as “L.A.’s Accordion Diva.” She is not only is all over the piano accordion, but all over the accordion world, as well!