Accordion History

The accordion was introduced to Argentina in the early twentieth century. The first model was called the verdurera. One of the first accordionists in Argentina was José Santa Cruz. He played a diatonic accordion, and later changed to the bandoneon. He followed in the footsteps of his father, Dominguo Santa Cruz, who was a well known bandoneon player.

Many players changed their accordions by adding keys and altering the tonal sound, and the accordion evolved. The accordion, in its different varieties and forms, became popular.

The charmamé is a music of the Guarani people, which is played on the accordion. It is a style which mixes Polka, Mazurka and Waltz music. Before the arrival of the accordion it was played on European instruments such as the violin and mandolin. It is a popular style in the provinces of Misiones, Chaco and Formosa, as well as in some parts of Santa Fe and Entre Rios, and has also become popular in Buenos Aires and Paraguay. Some Argentineans considered the charmamé style as "ghetto music" or "servants" music. However during the 1940's it increased in popularity.

Argentinean accordionists have been mainly influenced by others from Italy, Creole and Arab countries. Many Arab and Jewish immigrants settled in Santiago Del Estera, Corrientes and Entre Rios. This led to each region developing a distinctive, individual musical culture.

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