The Accordion Americana Project
Part I, Past and Present
The intentions of Accordion Americana are to tell the stories of working accordionists, some well known and others seldom heard of, and to share their contributions to live and recorded music within the last fifty years. With a few special exceptions, the focus is on the piano accordion and the role that it has played in Americana music, from Roots, Country and Pop music to Blues and Jazz.
Part II, The Future
- I am asking musicians and writers to change their thinking about the accordion–to raise their sights and tell a whole new story about the instrument, not the same old story, over and over again. It’s like playing the same old tune, again and again.
- Inspire us by showing something that has never been seen, nor heard on this instrument.
- Or teach us about the past, by going back to our roots.
- We, as a music community have an opportunity to promote our instrument by reaching out through performances, the media and festivals, to recognize all genres, but to make a conscious effort to bring this instrument forward into the 21st Century.
- Our musical heritage is a critical link and it should not be taken for granted. We should do all we can to engage with it and cultivate it. As time progressed, Americana music has become our heritage. The pop songs of today become the folk songs of tomorrow.
- I’ve noticed that there are those within the accordion community that try to “shame” other accordionists because their music doesn’t “fit the mold” or they don’t approve of that person for some reason. Or they seem to think that the instrument should be played in a certain way only by certain people of a certain ability, and by those who only pay homage to some far away place in another time. It seems to me that this attitude diminishes opportunities for all accordion players, their music and the instrument. A debate as to where this stultifying attitude originated has gone on for decades, but it dies hard. I am seeking out those musicians, who either were never exposed to this attitude, or are defying it, and are choosing a different path for this instrument. I am trying to focus on them in this blog.
- For the rest of us, it’s important that we empower and encourage all players of the instrument and advocate for inclusion of the instrument.
- We should take notice and recognize those musicians and bands that use the accordion in their music, especially young musicians and groups.
- We have to be more responsible about engaging in negative promotion, such as constantly referring to the accordion as though it is dying or has died–it has not! Those people that are doing this present and perpetuate stereotypes, which create problems for this instrument, not solutions.
- We are the ones who have the power to allow Americans to reconnect with the piano accordion, once again. Only then will it be regarded as an option for the next generation of music makers. Because, it is through them that this instrument has a chance to survive and participate in the new music that is yet to be composed and performed.
It’s all about the music!
In his introduction of Aaron Copeland, Leonard Bernstein is the first to define Americana music. Please listen…
Accordion Americana was created to entertain and inform only, not to endorse any products or services mentioned on this site.
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All the best!