Here I publish links to books, DVD’s, videos, websites, reviews and all other similar topics related to the accordion.

The Accordionists Forum, the best online forum made for us accordionists.  Lots of knowledgeable friendly people!

DVD – Accordion Tribe (2004):
“Accordion Tribe – Music Travels is a German-language documentary film about the band, produced by Maximage of Switzerland and written and directed by Stefan Schwietert. It premiered in January 2004. In 2005 it won the Swiss Film Prize for the Best Documentary, as well as the documentary film prize at the Wurzburg International Filmweekend. The film features the life of the band on the road and in concert, as well as exploring each individual member in their homelands.” link to this DVD

My review:  I’ve purchased this DVD and enjoyed it.  The story is about a man that brings five completely different accordion stylists who are also composers, from different parts of the world, together with the intent to create an accordion recital that travels across many nations and contains the original works from all of the five accordionists.  The story gives a pretty fair insight into the personalities and musical genius of each musician and how they experienced this adventure.  The music is truly unique, if some of it, for me, was a little more “out there”.

This is the kind of DVD that needs to be watched several times over in a nice quiet setting so that you can soak in not just the nuances of the music, but the diverse personalities of each accordionist.  I think the concept was brilliant, however, had I made it, I would have included different accordionists.  At the VERY least I would have added Joe Macerollo, a Canadian that has likely done more  for the furthering the vision of the accordion in North America than any artist in this video.  Having been made by an American, the vision of the movie is skewed a little towards their point of view, which is expected.  It’s not bad, it just needs to be said so that it is expected.

Being a tough critic, I would have to give this DVD a 3 out of 5 stars

DVD – Behind the Bellows (2009):
“… is Steve Mobia’s comprehensive sixty-minute squeezebox documentary which chronicles the accordion’s variety, history and it’s effect on popular culture. Includes interviews with accordion legends such as Anthony Gall-Rini, Guy Klucevsek, and Dick Contino, and ventures through concertinas, button boxes as well as a presentation of MIDI accordions….”

Here is a link to the site where one can purchase it at.

My review:  I have purchased this DVD and enjoyed it.  I found this DVD and it’s story quite charming.  I find it hard to believe that it took 7 years to make this DVD, because that’s a LONG time to accumulate only 2-3 hours of material, and if there was a lot more, where is it?  There are a lot of nice things presented and I was pleasantly surprised to see a lot of old footage of some of the greats from the golden time of the accordion and even more surprised to see some of them still with the accordion on.  They speak a little about the history of the accordion and show some of the variants out there, but with a very limited view.

The documentary is indeed on the accordion, but shot only from the perspective of someone living in only certain parts of the USA (not even a hint as to what is happening in other parts of the USA!).  In that sense, I found the story lacking and a little limiting because in many places in Europe the accordion is still held in high esteem and maybe some more footage of Castelfidardo, specifically some key accordion manufacturers (a place I commonly refer to as “accordion heaven”), should have been included, it could have added so much more to the story and interest of the accordion.  Had I made this DVD, I would have included 5 minutes on how accordions work and how they are assembled, with a little footage of a factory and a few people working on them.

Being a tough critic, I would have to give this DVD a 4 out of 5 stars.

DVD – Accordions Rising (2016):
“Accordions Rising Is a documentary feature film about the resurgence of interest in accordion music over the last 30-40 years. Although many continue to see the accordion as the stodgy instrument of a bygone era – and accordion jokes abound – this film sets the record straight. It is the story of the variety, diversity and extraordinary virtuosity of the instrument and the music that it can make…”

I have purchased this DVD and quite honestly, it is a bit of a disappointment.  If you have seen the 2009 Behind The Bellows, then you will have seen more than half of Accordions Rising.  It has a lot of the same info, same message, same story and even many of the same names appearing in both DVDs.  It is a very “American-centric” story that unfortunately, is one that has already been told.  Basically, it’s a bit of a remake of “Behind the Bellows”, but sadly without any major improvements over the first movie except the few minutes of displaying and talking about the Roland “V” accordions.

Yes, it’s nice to have, ok to watch, but it could have been SO MUCH better!  Add a little international flavor, add some current real day international accordion HEROS, people that have done more for the accordion than ANYONE has in the past.  Finally, know what?  There is more to the accordion world today than just what happens in ONE country.  The accordion’s roots are in Europe, how about even a SMALL look over there?  Show some of those factories, show some of those people that make them and show a few Canadian and European people that make the accordion what it can be!  Someone had a chance to make a mind-blowing DVD about accordions, and sadly, it fell a bit short.

The day someone uses the recipe that I mentioned, that is the day I just *might* give some DVD a 5 star rating!

Here is a link to their Facebook site.

Being a tough critic, I would have to give this DVD a 2.5 out of 5 stars.

An accordion player that I could listen to all day… Christa Behnke, a German traditional stylist.
HERE is a YouTube name search to her name to show all videos with her name in it!

A YouTube query for videos about Free Bass accordions… HERE is a slew of videos to enjoy!

“Accordion Know-how” is a link to a place about how to tune and repair accordions that I found very good, however, after visiting this site I found that my IE settings were modified.  They were changed to make this page my “home” page and any new tabs opened also opened this page.  HIGHLY annoying and totally unnecessary!

“Accordion Revival” is a site that discusses accordion repair that is very good.

“Talking Reeds” is another good site that discusses accordion repair.

“Joseph Macerollo” is the old outdated personal website from none other than the legendary Joseph Macerollo.  Started in 2004, it sadly ended in 2009.  I wish he or someone that he commissioned, had kept it up.

Accordion Dreams… a PBS special about the Conjunto style of music in modern Mexican society.

Repair Shop… a BBC2 show that featured an old accordion repair.

Repair Shop… a BBC2 show that featured an old concertina repair.

History of the Polka… A documentary of the polka.  The polka is originally a Czech dance and genre of dance music familiar throughout Europe and the Americas. It originated in the middle of the 19th century in Bohemia, now part of the Czech Republic.

Polka remains a popular folk music genre in many European countries, and is performed by folk artists in the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Poland, Croatia, Slovenia, Switzerland, and to a lesser extent in Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Hungary, Italy, Ukraine, Romania, Belarus, Russia, and Slovakia.

Local varieties of this dance are also found in the Nordic countries, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Latin America and the United States.

The beginning of the propagation of dance and accompanying music called polka is generally attributed to a young woman, Anna Slezáková (born Anna Chadimová), who danced to accompany a local folk song called “Strýček Nimra koupil šimla”, or “Uncle Nimra Bought a White Horse”, in 1834.

She is said to have called the dance Maděra, because of its liveliness. The dance was further propagated by the music teacher Josef Neruda, who witnessed Anna dance in an unusual way, put the tune to paper, and taught other young men to dance it.

By 1835, this dance had spread to the ballrooms of Prague. From there, it spread to Vienna by 1839,[5] and in 1840 was introduced in Paris by Raab, a Prague dance instructor.

It was so well received by both dancers and dance masters in Paris that its popularity was referred to as “polkamania.” The dance soon spread to London and was introduced to America in 1844. It remained a popular ballroom dance until the late 19th century, when it would give way to the two-step and new ragtime dances.

Polka dancing enjoyed a resurgence in popularity after World War II, when many Polish refugees moved to the US, adopting this Bohemian style as a cultural dance.

Polka dances are still held on a weekly basis across many parts of the US with significant populations of central European origin. It was also found in parts of South America.

There are various styles of contemporary polka besides the original Czech dance, which is still the chief dance at any formal or countryside ball in the Czech Republic.

One of the types found in the United States is the North American “Polish-style polka,” which has roots in Chicago, with large Czech and Polish minorities; two sub-styles are “The Chicago Honky” (using clarinet and one trumpet) and “Chicago Push” featuring the accordion, Chemnitzer & Star concertinas, upright bass or bass guitar, drums, and (almost always) two trumpets.

North American “Slovenian-style polka” is fast and features piano accordion, chromatic accordion, and/or diatonic button box accordion; it is associated with Cleveland.

North American “Dutchmen-style” features an oom-pah sound often with a tuba & banjo, and has roots in the American Midwest. “Conjunto-style” polkas have roots in northern Mexico and Texas, and are also called “Norteño”.

Traditional dances from this region reflect the influence of polka-dancing European immigrants. In the 1980s and 1990s, several American bands began to combine polka with various rock styles (sometimes referred to as “punk polka”), “alternative polka”, or “San Francisco-style”.

It is said that Polka Music Transcends Time!

5:32 PM 4/10/2016