Friday, March 04, 2005

The Secret Life of Accordions

Some years ago, Gary Larson, the creator of "Far Side", drew a wonderful cartoon in two panels: in the top panel, a happy deceased appears at the pearly gates, where an angel hands him an instrument, saying, "Welcome to Heaven. Here's your harp;" in the bottom panel, an unhappy deceased enters the unquenchable fires, where a devil hands him an instrument, saying, "Welcome to Hell. Here's your accordion."

Your humble Contributor is feeling very welcome anymore, now that one of the other Householders has taken up the accordion.

Specifically, it is a Princetti circa 1958, which belongs to one of the other Poor Relations, who made a name for himself in 1961 with his interpretation of "Lady of Spain" for an audience of whoever happened to be visiting on a Sunday afternoon or those gathered at the 'old folks home' (a term now offensive to all but those whose currently live in old folks homes). Alas, he has not put the squeeze on lately; so, he generously offered it as a loaner, along with the music for "Carnival of Venice" and sufficient dust to trigger an asthma attack.

Princetti -- the name strongly suggests an Italian make (apparently, the preeminent homeland of concertinas on up) -- and, perhaps, one of the better makes of accordion (if that comparative may be used to describe this free-reed).

Perhaps it is unfair that this boisterous, bellowing, mellifluous instrument has been associated with Gihenna. After all, one cannot listen to Frankie Yankovic and His Yanks without a faint stirring of something good in his heart. Think about it: would the most keilbasa-hardened polka-palooka not be brought to tears by "Who Stole The Keeshka?" Indeed, recall the moving poetry the accordion has inspired.

The truth is that accordions have become, once again, chic. This might have started when "Weird Al" postmodernized cousin Frankie's melodies. Now, secret accordionists are emerging from the closet and asserting their pride. The search is now on for the "hottest accordionists", who fairly channel Lawrence Welk, and there's a waiting list for the accordion fantasy cruise. The more cultured among us might visit the Cleveland Accordion Museum.

Gentle visitors, it simply may be time to re-assess the spiritual status of the accordion.

4 Comments:

Blogger Gone Away said...

Just when I was starting to think that there might be some hope for the world...

3/04/2005 10:17:00 PM  
Blogger Ned said...

May the muse of Myron Floren smile upon you. Wunnerful, wunnerful...

3/05/2005 08:47:00 AM  
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