Wednesday, August 22, 2012

It's Time for Accordions

This last weekend was the Cotati Accordion Festival. It was #22. In some ways, that astounds me. 22 years of festivals. I mean, the accordion is not the most popular of instruments, although I do think it's highly underrated. I have to blame the monkeys and their little cups.
Those of you who have been following for a while know that my daughter plays the accordion and, now, the rest of you know, too. I love that she plays the accordion. I mean, I really love it.

This was her second accordion festival. Last year, she only played in the group performance of "Lady of Spain," which she really didn't know very well, but she could get away with it, because it was just a mass of people playing it, and, probably, half of them didn't know it, either. This year, though, she played on stage!
She was part of a group of "future accordion stars;" that's her teacher in the lower left of the bottom photo. She played the song "Over the Waves," which is her grandfather's favorite. And she had her very first interview.
I'm not really sure what the interview was for, but, still, it was cool. She even got asked for her autograph.

The Great Morgani was there. He played four times and in a different costume each time. Unfortunately, we only got to see him once. His costumes are amazing! (Last year, he had one of a big, green butterfly (but I don't have pictures of that one.))
You should definitely check out his website.

My daughter also got to meet and have her picture taken with Santiago Jimenez.
He's kind of legendary and has been Grammy nominated three times. We didn't get to see his actual stage performance, but we did get to hear him play at his tent.

There were also the Accordion Babes, but I was busy buying food for the family while they were playing, so I didn't really get to see/hear them other than to note that one of them was dressed up in some Celtic warrior outfit with a leather miniskirt. They have calendars.
They debuted this calendar at the event, but you're seeing as much of it as I've seen, which is this picture of it. They announced that this year's calendar is kind of racy, but I don't know what that means. At any rate, I'm sure they'd love for you to buy one, if you're so inclined.

I'm sure there was a lot more to see and hear, but we were only there for half of Sunday out of the two days of the event. My wife and I are hoping that next year we can actually stay late enough to hear some of the major performers.

Oh, and one other note:
On Friday afternoon, my daughter played for an hour in front of a local grocery store as part of a promotional thing they do every year for the festival. She played for it last year, too, although her song library was much shorter then. Anyway, during that hour of playing, she made over $45.00. This was her third time to go busking. I'm fairly certain her total haul for the, basically, three hours she's spent performing like this is more than I've made off of my book stuff. Maybe, I'm in the wrong line of work? Then, again, I'm not young and cute, so I'm not likely to bring in the kind of money she does.

We're incredibly proud of what my daughter has done in  this past year with her accordion work. Her teacher says she's one of the best she's ever taught, and she's been teaching for something like 40 years, so it's kind of a big deal. Even though we often have to fight with her over practicing, it's really been worth it. I'm not sure if she'd admit that, but she already has an eye for new accordions. She already owns two.
(Accordions aren't cheap... just sayin'.)


  1. I like the accordion, but I don't think it's the Capuchin monkey that's giving it a bad name.

    So what is?

    Methinks it's that it is played in nearly every Latin and German song. If you listen to both, they actually sound alike. Who would have guessed?

    Nevertheless, I like innovative accordion players. Next to the electric violin and the drums, it is my fave.

    I think it's cute that your daughter was asked for an autograph. Cool. That will either teach her humbleness and encourage her, or make her head swell. I hope it is the former.

    Good luck and continue to encourage her.


  2. If she's excited about it, encourage her! And no, I imagine they aren't cheap.
    Has Weird Al ever showed up to the festival?
    Maybe you should take her and her accordion with you to a book signing and see what happens.

  3. How awesome and unique! That's so great that you're encouraging music~ I only took piano lessons, and those didn't go too far past ten years old. I'd like to find an instrument my daughter is interested in and get her started at an early age (always thought it would be cool to have a bagpipe player in the family). Your daughter sounds amazing and the festival looked spectacular~ love the photos!

  4. This is very cool. As a big They Might Be Giants fan, I don't think I have to tell you I like the accordion as well. A very underrated instrument. I've heard a few modern rock songs with it, and it sounds amazing. Maybe when I start that all-author band, ala Stephen King, I'll take up the accordion.

    ...or maybe not. Let's leave that to your daughter, who sounds like she's quite talented at it.

  5. 'Accordian Noir' plays on our local co-op radio one evening a week. It's surprising that so many of these songs are never heard. I had a cousin who played the accordian very well.

    It's not a high in demand instrument, mostly used for special purposes or festivals. There's also the squeeze box variations played by the old sailors, and a bandneon. Have you heard of those? (hubs gave me the names)

    Your daughter looks great in those pix. We've heard of Flaco Jimenez(hope that's the right name, but not the guy in the pix), Flaco plays with Ry Cooder and his own band at times.

    Nice post.

  6. That looks like a good time. Congratulations for having such talented kids.

  7. The accordion is such an unusual instrument--looks like the festival was fun!

    Great pictures.

  8. Jeremy: Well, she avoided the autograph; I don't think she's at the head swelling point quite yet. She's still busy trying to learn to smile while she's playing.

    Alex: As far as I know, Weird Al has never shown up.
    I don't know if I'm brave enough to take her to a book signing. Not until I write a book about accordions.

    Jess: I didn't find out until I was an adult, but my grandfather always wanted me to learn the bagpipes. My uncle could play them, but he never did it. At least, I never heard him play them or even saw them.

    ABftS: I'm not thinking I'll be taking up an instruments any time soon. Not is I want to keep writing, at any rate.

    D.G.: Flaco is his brother. He plays a different style than Santiago, a more popular style. Santiago is more classical.

    Michael: Thanks! And it was a good time.

    TGE: Thanks!

  9. I think finding something that you excel at, whatever it is, is wonderful. Congrats to her. I hope she makes as much money as she wants doing that.

  10. Rusty: The problem is that my daughter pretty much excels at whatever she decides she wants to excel at, which, often, is too much. For instance, she wants to pick up three new instruments this year. Three! I think my head will explode.