This is a waltz by friend Barb Truex that we have been playing for years. I’m playing it here on my new (to me) Castagnari Lilly, which arrived from Hungary JUST YESTERDAY! I am excited. I’m not sure what you can hear, but I can hear a sweetness from this small box, and I can feel its responsiveness under my fingers.
I’ve wanted a Lilly for years and years. Some people would just call up the factory and order one. I can’t do that for whatever neurotic reason. I have to wait until one shows up in my circle, and I determine it’s the right box at the right cost at the right time. Thanks to Péter for selling me the box and getting it to my home safely.
I am super pleased to announce five new designs for tee shirts and merch in the Accordeonaire Shop. These use the charcoal sketch design from the FRLO shirts and declare to the world that free reeds are GOOD FOR HUMANS! There are three concertina designs (anglo, English, and duet), a melodeon design for melnetters, and an accordion design. You can get them on shirts, hoodies, coffee mugs, phone covers et many cetera. Here are the rest of the designs.
For October 2021, we have a piece learned from and dedicated to Frédéric Paris and La Chavannée. “les Vigneron” is a bourrée in 3 and super charming. Props to Janneke for bringing the harmonium into this “free reed” conspiracy. I invited folks to think freely about submitting counter melodies and accompaniment, and we ended up with TWENTY-SEVEN tracks, most of them video, but some just audio. Well done us! Thanks to Clive and Theo for their support on melodeon.net, the soil from which this plant sprang.
The FRLO is Anahata, Matthew Bampton, John Barber, David Barnert, Gary Chapin, Margaret Cox, Andrew Edgington, Eric Johnson, Howard Mitchell, Gren Penn, Julian Scholefield, Janneke Slagter.
How do you start a kickass international accordion orchestra – and why would you do such a thing?
A month ago I was asked by SEED+SPARK if I’d talk about the creation of the Free Reed Liberation Orchestra as part of their arts/ecology/creativity series The Seed Hour 2021. I did it and here’s the recording of that conversation. Steve Gruverman and Matthew Bampton, orchestra members, joined for the conversation. There’s a bit of front matter, including the wonderful Jasmine Gillison singing two songs, and then the accordion talk begins. Enjoy!
This was a piece I wrote (lyrics) for my second CD (which you can listen to over on the right, or download from Bandcamp). The idea was that there was this fictional between-the-wars crypto-anarchist, quasi-mystical accordion orchestra uniting squeezers everywhere. And this is their anthem.
I had no idea, at the time, that the FRLO would become and actual real thing nearly two decades later. I am grateful beyond measure for everyone in the group — squeezers and friends — who, I think, experienced a bit of trepidation when I asked them to sing.
There was also some emotion with the line about mothers, which should not have surprised me (mothers are complicated things). Steve said to me, “I don’t get this line about mothers.” To which I replied.
I wrote this around the time after my Mom died. It’s not really ABOUT MY MOM, just that I was feeling warmly about the idea of mothers. The FRLO in my mind, in 2006, was a … dance band that played in dives in a 1930s Svengali landscape. John Barrymore might bring Marion Marsh there while they’re on vacation in Vienna, trying to avoid the press and the police, and maybe get their hands on some absinth. The FRLO would be playing there, and they might dance, or they might not.