Do you know what Billy Joel, Bruce Hornsby, Eddie Vedder and Frankie Yankovic all have in common? That last name might give you the biggest clue, but in case you still don’t know, the answer is: they all played the accordion. It perhaps isn’t so surprising then, with squeezebox heavyweights like those, that Vancouver is host to an accordion festival.
A lineup of local, national and international accordion artists are on tap this year as organizers of the 7th annual Accordion Noir Festival look to move the festival beyond its underground East Vancouver roots, to new audiences with performances scheduled at the Russian Hall, The Orpheum Annex and the recently converted porn to music house, The Fox Cabaret.
Canadian and international accordion artist Socalled kicks off the festival at The Fox Cabaret as part of the appropriately named Squeezebox Confession (Sep 11) with his mash-up of turbo-folk, hip-hop and klezmer funk.
At the Accordion Speakasy (Sep 12), Jack Garton of East Vancouver’s Maria in the Shower hosts a celebration of the underground aspects of accordion culture, featuring homegrown klezmer artist Geoff Berner, alongside songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Lonesome Leash (aka Walt McClements).
The Accordion Kitchen Party (Sep 13) is a culturally diverse accordion celebration featuring Nova Scotian songwriter Robyn Carrigan and Quebec’s Ol’ Crocodile, alongside Vancouver’s own genre-bending, bilingual six-piece band, Wintermitts. The evening will also mark the final festival performance of fan favourites The Creaking Planks, led by Accordion Noir Festival co-founder Rowan Lipkovitz.
Vancouver New Music is co-host to the final concert of the festival, Free (Reed) Association, featuring the return of Miss Murgatroid (Sep 14), a pioneer of avant-experimental accordion who rose to prominence in Portland in the late 1980s.
The Accordion Noir Festival takes place September 11-14. Visit http://www.accordionnoirfest.com for tickets and information.