Vancouver is known for its mountains, oceans, trees and, perhaps one day, its accordion scene.
While guitars, keyboards and drums usually get all the attention, a group of local musicians have banded together to shine the spotlight on the oft-ignored squeezebox.
Called the Accordion Noir Festival, the event is now in its fifth year. From Sept 13 – 16 both local and international performers will gather in various venues in the city to celebrate the instrument that has never quite recovered its cool since being featured on the Lawrence Welk Show.
Vancouver-based musicians Geoff Berner and Barbara Adler are two of the better known proponents of the accordion, but local bands Maria in the Shower and Orkestar Slivovica are also giving the instrument its duo.
They’re all on the Accordion Noir Festival roster, which also includes some out-of-towners as well. Norway cabaret siren Guro Von Germeten and “San Francisco accordion babe” (according to her Twitter profile) Renee de la Prade also perform.
According to her website, de la Prade plays traditional French and Irish songs along with ’80s pop-punk and children’s music. She also repairs accordions. Von Germeten evokes a WWII-era French ambience with Balkan beats, circus jazz and a dash of film noir intrigue.
Besides music, the Accordion Noir Festival will feature puppetry, burlesque and accordion workshops. Who knows, de la Prade might even fix that broken accordion you’ve been storing under your bed.
Accordion Noir Festival 2012 schedule:
Thursday, Sept 13, the Cobalt (917 Main Street) - The Big Squeeze featuring Geoff Berner, Guro Von Germeten and more (0pening night).
Friday, Sept 14, Grandview Legion (2205 Commercial Drive) – Accordion Dance Party with Flying Folk Army, Creaking Planks and High Society.
Saturday, Sept 15, Waldorf Hotel (1489 E. Hastings) – Panstereorama featuring Maria in the Shower, Renee de la Prade, Orkestar Slivovica, magic, burlesque and more.
Sunday, Sept 16, ANZA Club (3 W. 8th Avenue) – Accordion Day at the ANZA Club hosted by Barbara Adler and including accordion workshop and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Underdog Instrument Grudge Match.
Tickets for events at Red Cat Records (4332 Main Street), Highlife Records (1317 Commercial Drive), Zulu Records (1972 West 4th) and Eventbrite.