Attack of the Killer Accordions!
Quick, name an instrument (besides the guitar) that is played almost entirely throughout the world (except for pretty much all of Asia). Did you guess the accordion? I hope you didn't peek at the headline to get that answer. The accordion is the theme of this week's World Music Show (5/19) becuase every once in awhile, it's good to give some props to a global instrument such as this that is held in such high regard.
Throughout the parts of the world, the accordion has a many different names:
- Danish (free-bass): Accordeon.
- Hungarian & Icelandic: Harmonika
- Portuguese: Acordeão or Sanfona
- French: Accordéon
- German: Akkordeon
- Greek: Ακορντεον
- Italian: Fisarmonica
- Norwegian: Trekkspill
- Polish: Akordeon, harmonia
- Croatian: Harmonika
- Slovenian: Frajtonarce
- Swedish: Dragspel
Thank you Wikipedia! Now, will I play songs from all of these countries? Sadly, no. But I will concentrate on Latin America and France to get the point across that this instrument, this squeezebox O' fun, is a music making machine not to be trifled with. For instance, kick-start the show by playing some energetic Salsa music by the band Arnell i su Orkesta, who are from Curacao.
And then, in anothe chunk of music, I'll some fiery Merengue Tipico music from La India Canela, who are from the Domican Republic. Let by singer, composer Lidia Maria Hernandez Lopez, the band plays a driving mix of "country" music from the mountainous Cibao region. The Merengue Tipico style of music has a driving dance beat with aggressive improvisions. In fact, you can hear Lidia shout on one of the songs "Call the fire department!"
In other sets, you'll hear some other accordion dance music--but this time it'll be Cajun style. I'll play the band Charivari, who are named for a Cajun custom of gathering a group and showing up at some designated house armed with instruments, various noise-makers and plenty of hungry and thirsty people. I'll also play a song from Marce Lacouture, who plays the accordion in a style of "home music," which is a tradition of playing melodic and lyrical, yet complex tunes sung by women.
Other highlights of the first hour, include some Brazilian music from the bands Forro in the Dark and Mosquitos. Plus, I'll play a couple songs from Isreal by Etti Ankri and Zafa. And, there's even some Cuban musis from the legendary band The Buena Vista Social Club.
And, in keeping with the Cajun vein, I'll end the first hour with a couple of accordion-ripe tunes done by Paul Simon. Yep, even Simon has embraced this instrument. If you remember the CD Graceland for only it's nod to Black South African music, then you've forgotten the few Cajun tracks on this great album.
For hour two, the accordion, also called a one-man-band, doesn't escape tonight's theme. However, we'll trade our Latin American theme and set our sights on France--no stranger to this instrument. But first, let me mention all the songs hanging around the side walls like a school boy waiting for a dance. We'll hear some Asian Groove music. From India, we'll hear Bally Jagpal as well as Badar Ali Khan, who both play some pretty funky music. And, we'll also hear some great JuJu music from King Sunny Ade as well as some political music from Nigeria, care of Seun Kuti.
With that said, the biggest chunk of music in the second hour will be from France. One song you won't want to miss will be from a band called Les Primitifs du Futur. Not only do they play a song called "Accordeon Jo," but one of their memebers is the legendary cartoonist Robert Crumb (who plays the Mandolin).
We'll also hear some nice acoustic French music from Pascal Parisot and Amelie-Les-Crayons as well as some Django Reinhart-inspired music from the band Paris Combo. I'm even throwing in a tune from the band Lo-Jo, who always manage to play interesting music.
To end the show, I'm going to play a song in Memorium of the late musician, humanist and film maker, Adam Yauch, otherwise known as MCA from the Beastie Boys. A few weeks ago, he died at the 47 after a three-year-long battle with Cancer. The song I'll play features the singer Santigold and it actually fits great on the World Music Show becuase it has an overall Dub-feel to it. I'm glad I could at least play one song that features Adam's voice on it. And, it's actually fitting to be able to play a song tonight, because earlier in the day, in Manhattan, there was a special MCA Day dedicated to him.
The World Music Show aires Saturday nights at 10:00 p.m. on 88.9FM or online at this very website. You can follow me on Twitter, too. Just look me up: @wcveworldmusic.