Archive for January, 2010


Random/Abstract Drawers and Time Travel


Last week-end, quite spontaneously, I started organizing my random/abstract drawers.  I know of very few people who don’t have atleast one junk drawer.  You know,  a drawer  with no order or purpose to it other than to stash stuff when company comes over.  My husband and I have an over supply of random/abstract drawers, and so after a while we become overwhelmed and we are forced to attack and organize.  I was in the mood to revisit my Irish music collection, so placed my “Celtophile- Masters of Celtic Accordion” c.d. on and started sorting and cleaning.  I had been ignoring my old 2-row b/c accordion and needed have those Irish tunes back in my ear while I did my chores.  No matter how many times I revisit this music, I still have to pause and try to breathe when I hear it.  It invades my body and soul.  Listening  to the greats like Billy McComiskey or Jimmy Keane or Paddy O’Brien can bring nothing but awe.  I once again decided that there was no other music like Celtic accordion music.  As I was sorting pencils, nails, tacs and paper clips my mind boarded time travel.  I was really in an Pub in Dingle.  First  I was in the audience sucking on a beer, then I was dancing , and then  I was playing the accordion myself, connecting completely with the  musicians and people around me. WHOOP!!  By the end of organizing my first drawer I decided that I just had to go down to my own basement and play a few tunes on my B/C for old times sake.  Being very rusty I was frustrated,  but I swore I would  practice regularly from now on.

I began my second drawer project and placed “Troka” in the c.d. player.  This  group  is from Norway, the instrumentation being accordion, fiddle and bowed bass.  I’m sure there are other instruments on the recording, but what fills me up from their music are the rich, long chords of the accordion, the smoothe deep double stops of the fiddle, and the hard drive of the  bowed bass.  So many melodies resemble the Celtic tunes yet they have their own unique flavor.  As I hear the music, my mind,( or maybe my soul),  goes to a more ancient time of sailors sailing the north sea.  As the music plays I imagine that I am transported to an Irish ship which is meeting up with a Norwegian ship.  We eat, we sing, we play our instruments and share the ancient tunes of our ancestors.  By the end of my second drawer I am thoroughly convinced that this Norwegian folk music is as mystical and as beautiful as any music. (I do like to pretend I am Walter Mitty). 

The accordion was at the heart of all this music that took me to places and times so far away.  I cleaned out drawers, but was barely aware of my own sorting and cleaning.  If you ask me what I did last week-end I will tell you that I took a trip through the seas, the skies and heaven, and it was marvelous.  The wind pushing through the reeds with the help of the wide bellows made the magical sounds that took me away.  Okay, so “gag”.  I’m a little shmaltzy, but I can’t help it.  I’m listening to Maria Kalaniemi right now.  She made me do it!!!


Indian Harmonium as it Appears in a Good Book


Over the holiday break I read an incredible book called A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry.  My description can do it no justice, but I will try.  Set in India in the 1970’s, this book tells tales of the many lives of people coming together from many different walks of life. Their views of life are colored by the lenses of their own experiences.

Ishvar,the son of an untouchable, who becomes a tailor watches after his nephew Om. Dina the rebellious sister and lonely widow who desperately tries to stay  independent of her business man brother, Nusswan.  Maneck the tenent student full of innocence and untouched by the corruption of the city. For  a very brief time  they become family. They connect and become a unit.  They need each other.  This does not last.

An Indian harmonium kept appearing in the background of the street scenes, playing it’s mournful tune.  My thoughts kept going back to that harmonium.  I knew it was an accordion type instrument and I was correct!  The harmonium, originally brought over by the British, is a miniature organ on which you pump the bellows with your left hand and play the keyboard with your right hand.  Like so many accordion instruments, the harmonium worked itself deep into the indigenous culture of India. I will attempt to place an image of a harmonium on this blog.  I am new at this, so we will see!!


Accordions and Life

I’m sitting in my cotaught Junior English Class while all the students are setting up their own blogs.  Mr. Logan, my partner teacher is the true techie, so I must follow his lead.  I try to assist the students but I usually have to defer to Mr. Logan, but I’m learning!!!

My recent thoughts having been drifting to accordion music therapy and maybe an accordion aerobic work-out.  My thesis being that the accordion can serve multiple purposes in life.  I’m visualizing my first accordion work-out book with different poses and movements. Maybe accordion yoga would do!  If I can incorporate my accordion into my daily work-out, I can have more time with my beloved instrument.

Music Therapy and Therapeutic Music are areas I’m exploring for the future.  I contacted some organizations about additional training.  I listed the instruments I play which include piano, double bass, cello, accordion and guitar.  Since most of the musicians in Therapeutic Music are harpists, my preconceived notion is that they have  some preconceived notions as to what instruments are appropriate for meditation. My guess is that accordion would not come to their minds. The first reply I received from one of the trainers said that the most appropriate instrument of the ones I listed would probably be the cello.  “Kachink”, I predicted that.   Another person replied that they did know of ONE accordion player who was a therapeutic musician and he lived in Minnesota.  Unfortunately, I live in Arkansas. Maybe I was wrong about my prediction after all.  There is one accordion player recognized as a therapeutic musician. 

Not all my blogs will be explicitly about accordions, but the motif will remain the same.

Signing off to do more academic things!!!


According to Accordion Lady

I am a special education teacher, a speech therapist, a grandmother, a musician. I’m going to be blogging about accordions and life. Part accordion, part philosophy. When my midlife struck hard I found accordions!!! Squeeze boxes, bayans, concertinas, bandoneons, and more. Accordion therapy!!! All for now

In my early forties when my children grew up and left home, I found a beautiful, lonely 1930’s era accordion in a flea market in Missouri.  It worked.  The mellow tone of those hand tooled reeds took me away to another place.  Ten years and eighteen accordions later, I’ve started on a new journey of friendship, community and connections.  I’ve heard hundreds of accordion stories.  I’ve learned how intertwined the accordion is with world cultures.  I hope to document and hear more stories about people’s accordions, about their culture and about their lives.


January 2010