Accordion History in Iceland
Accordion History

HISTORY OF THE ACCORDION IN ICELAND

The first trace of the accordion in Iceland dates back to 1874. From then until the nineteenth century, the accordion was an important instrument at dances, but there are no writings or recordings by these accordionists. The traditional music of Iceland is a mixture of Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish and Danish music, among others. At the turn of the century, the diatonic accordion all but disappeared, in favour of the piano accordion. In 1930, the first accordion record was released. Pietro Deiro played on one side, and on the other was a medley of waltzes.

In 1939 Bragi Hlidberg, aged fourteen, gave a recital in the Reykjavik concert hall. He acquired a reputation as an excellent musician. After a long break, he took up the accordion again in 1970 and recorded two LPs. Another Icelandic pioneer of the chromatic accordion was Lydur Sigtryggsson, who won the Scandinavian Accordion Championships in 1947. Grettir Björnsson won the Canadian Championships in the late 1950's. Today he is one of the better known accordionists, and has recorded many records.

Today there are many accordion clubs in Iceland, the first of which was founded in 1978. Since then, the accordion has experienced a resurgence in popularity.
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