It took all of ONE DAY for UPS to bring this beauty to me from England. A Christmas gift from my father,
An “organetto” is “a popular Italian folk instrument allied to the accordion.” This organetto looks and acts an awful lot like a small one-row (with two extra buttons) box that is a joy to play. In this case the box is in A flat — an unusual key for boxes. A chromatically oriented friend asked, “How many tunes do you play that are in A flat?” I responded, “On this box, they’re all in A flat.” We live in a diato world.
Here are three videos I shot this morning, while waiting for the duck and lamb to cook for Christmas dinner. The first has me yammering for a few seconds and then playing a polka and a bourrée. The next two are two other bourrées. Enjoy and good holidays!
On December 1, something happened over at Auvergne Diffusion that, frankly, I had completely given up hope would ever happen. They made downloads of recordings from their vast, glorious catalogue available for the first time. It being my birthday on December 2, I struck with alacrity. At around five euros per recording (OMFG, the Euro is so low!) and the fact that PayPal handles the conversion, I don’t know how AuvDif could have made it easier. Goodbye, shipping and handling.
As a first offering, AuvDif offered nine recordings by Les Brayauds – a collective featuring the brothers Didier and Eric Champion – and one by Komred, a quintet led by the fabulous Etienne Loic, a master bourrée-ist who I’ve featured about before.
For someone interested in the beauties of old – obscure, archaic music forms – I am a complete non-aesthete when it comes to recorded sound. Vinyl – meh. CDs, other physical media? No, I don’t feel the need to “own the physical object.” Storage challenges don’t improve my quality of life. I want to hear this music! I am voracious, I get it! The soundtrack for this life of mine. Thank you, Auvergne Diffusion. You have improved my quality of life.
A few days ago I came across a performance of Scottiche à Catinaux (spellings vary, but I like this one) by French one-row accordeonaire Gilles Poutoux. In itself it’s unusual to hear French tunes on the one-row (though there is the obvious connection to Quebecois and Cajun one-row traditions), but the tune happened to be one of my faves, a Bal Folk standard.
The scottiche is a medium tempo couples dance in 4/4 (I love medium tempo). This one is particularly simple and seems to come along early in the learning arc of many players. Perhaps because, it appeared on Jean Blanchard’s seminal Accordeon Diatonique recording, which set the bar for everyone back in 1977. But its simplicity does not diminish the joy and possibilities for Scottiche à Catinaux. Poutoux on the one-row plays a bubbly sort of scottiche, with a lot of verve and vim. But that’s his take on the tune. Here is the sheet music, the pure tune:
Scottiche à Catinaux
(NOTE: This is a correction from an earlier posted image, h/t Anahata)
Notice on the third beat of the first bar in the B section, where the melody drops. It goes to an A. An F chord is the natural choice, and that F chord makes all the difference. The F chord confirms that, in fact, there is love in the room. That’s right. I said it.
There are many versions of this tune on the YouTubes. I especially love Anahata’s version, pairing the tune with Scottish á Virmoux, another ear worm of a tune.
Finally, I’ll offer my own version from my CD, L’Autre Diatoniste (available at Bandcamp). At this far remove (it was recorded five years ago) it sounds too fast (that’s the trouble with technically easy tunes), but I still like it. I like Will Leavitt’s spoon playing. And I like the second tune, L’eau de Roche. Enjoy.