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02 April 2004 This weeks news | Past News | Send news

Editors Note

It's interesting to see so many new movies featuring the accordion in their sound tracks. Not just in this week's news but in previous months too. The accordion with its really distinctive sound is in demand. The bellows give it the breath, phrasing and articulation of a singer with expressive capabilities second to no other instrument. The popularity of the accordion is continuing onwards…

Harley Jones
Acccordions Worldwide Director

This Weeks News

Accordion Documentary to Hit Film Festivals - Switzerland, Austria

Accordion Tribe, a new 90-minute documentary by film-maker Stefan Schwietert, recently premiered in Gras, Austria. The film follows the members of the Jazz group, Accordion Tribe - Guy Klucevsek (USA), Maria Kalaniemi (Finland), Bratko Bibic (Slovenia), Lars Hollmer (Sweden) and Otto Lechner (Austria).

The film features interviews, performances, and documentary footage from their 2001 tour. It is scheduled for a circuit of film festivals in Europe and will eventually show on Swiss/Austrian television, which commissioned the project. Meanwhile, group member Guy Klucevsek will be a featured soloist at the Stanser Musitage festival in Stans, Switzerland, April 20, 21. He will perform his 30 minute collection, The Well-Tampered Accordion, and Four Portraits, a work inspired by characters from Michael Cunningham's novel, The Hours.

For further information, email:

Accordion Music Helps Wine Tasting and Makes Welsh Singers Soar - Australia

Accordion playing and Welsh singing attracted hundreds of people to Mandurang Valley Wines last week for a wine sampling to raise funds for a music festival in Wales.
Vineyard owners John and Barbara Foster were delighted with the turnout at the sampling for a special blend of Shiraz. Mr. Foster said the musicians had helped produced the wine, picking grapes by hand to produce 600 bottles.

On arrival yesterday, each person purchased a glass and was entitled to several refills of the unique Shiraz. "All proceeds raised from the sampling and selling of the Shiraz will help 45 members from the Victoria Welsh Choir travel to Wales for a national Eisteddfod in October," Mr. Foster said. He said the project was a good chance to bring the choir together and raise money for the trip.


Airs de Musette en Valencienois Festival - France

The third Airs de Musette en Valencienois, is planned for 4th July in Hergnies near the Belgian border.
This accordion festival is popular with young performers usually attracting up 2,000 to 3,000 people at the open-air 'Place de la Rèpublique.'

For further information, email


Airbag Festival - Belgium

The city of Bruges to the north of Belgium will be the venue of the Airbag Festival in May. With a variety of exciting performances to take place throughout the month, the organisers aim to please members of the international accordion community.
Besides some very diverse concerts in classical, Balkan, old-time jazz and electronical genres, there will also be a number of exhibitions, including the release of a book about some famous Belgian players and manufacturers.
Throughout the month Bruges becomes a real people's celebration, organisers say. "Witness the low ticket price with accordionists from the whole world and from each genre."
The venues for these performances vary from the halls, streets and squares of this medieval city, going as far as homes for the elderly, hospitals and the city prison.

For further information, email:

ATAM New England Music Competition and Festival - USA

Accordionists in Massachusetts area are in for a weekend of exciting band competition and great music at the Annual ATAM New England Music Competition and Festival, 2nd-4th April.
The competition, which is open for competitors up to the age of 22 who are students of ATAM teacher members, includes competitions for solos, duos, ensembles and bands, and some non-competitive categories. A weekend feature is the Awards Banquets and over $3,000.00 in prizes and cash awards with guest performance by the "K Trio" at a banquet on Saturday night.
The Accordion Teachers' Association of Massachusetts was established in 1962 and organizes the festival free of charge to the public, drawing over 1,200 contestants who take part in accordion, drum, guitar, keyboard, piano, and voice competition categories for children from 6 to 22 years.

For further information, email:


"Arrasate Hiria" XII International Accordion Competition - Spain

Entry is now open for the "Arrasate Hiria" XII International Accordion Competition that will take place in Arrasate-Mondragón (Basque Country) between the 3rd-8th of December.

Organised by the Basque Accordion Association or "Hauspoz", the Arrasate International Accordion Competition is an important accordion, where some of the most outstanding accordion talent meets annually. The competition is open to soloists of any age and nationality and entries close 30th September. The organizers will confirm in writing that the contestant has been admitted to the competition by the 3rd November.

For further information, email:

Billions from Accordion Beginnings - USA

Guy Laliberté got his start playing an accordion for tips on the streets of Montreal. Today his act is one of the most lucrative ventures in live entertainment.

There's no escaping him. People flock to his show at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. In Las Vegas, where he operates in three different casinos, his shows have become Sin City's biggest draw. His five touring productions travel the globe, performing in such locations as Spain and Japan. His outrageous acts and colorful characters are celebrated in newspapers and magazines and have even appeared on a reality TV show.

The brand is Cirque du Soleil. Less familiar is the impresario behind this circus maximus: a flamboyant, fire-breathing accordionist billionaire named Guy Laliberté. In the last 20 years Laliberté has transformed Cirque du Soleil from a small troupe of stilt walkers into one of the world's most recognized entertainment operations.

More than 7 million people paid $650 million to see Cirque's live performances last year with all their funky music, stunning costumes and mind-defying acrobatics. Television licenses and corporate sponsorships bring in millions more. With little debt and a pretax margin probably near 25%, Cirque du Soleil, of which Laliberté owns 95%, is comfortably worth $1.2 billion.

Born 44 years ago into a large middle-income family in Quebec City, Quebec, Guy Laliberté took to the streets of Montreal as a busker in his early teens, earning tips by playing tunes on an accordion he'd found in his father's closet. After high school he hitchhiked across Europe, where he met jugglers and stilt walkers and learned the art of fire-breathing.

Laliberte's ambitious drive and creative imagination quickly made Cirque a hit and the band became the talk of Hollywood. Today Cirque du Soleil's three Vegas shows--Mystère, O and Zumanity--play to 9,000 people a night, 5% of the city's visitors.

Contributed by Matthew Miller


Café Orchestra release April-May Schedule - USA

The popular Café Accordion Orchestra, is a quintet with music full of French flavor and occasional Spanish spice with a little swing has a full schedule this year. Led by accordionist, Dan Newton once described by the Minesotta media as having "played his accordion with understated virtuosity..." the quintet's schedule for the next couple of months is:

April 6 - Kitty Cat Klub, Minneapolis
April 17 - The Times, Minneapolis
April 20 - Kitty Cat Klub, Minneapolis
April 23 - Dixie's on Grand, St. Paul
April 25 - Dakota Jazz Club, Minneapolis

May 14 - Dixie's on Grand, St.Paul
May 18 - Kitty Cat Klub, Minneapolis
May 22 - The Times, Minneapolis

Charest finds Oscar success with Triplets score - Canada

Ben Charest made a decent living playing jazz guitar over the years -- but that's nothing compared to what playing the vacuum cleaner, the bicycle wheel and refrigerator shelves has recently done for him.
The Montreal composer included that oddball assortment of "instruments" on his soundtrack for The Triplets of Belleville, the made-in-Quebec film that earned Oscar nominations for best animated movie and, for Charest, best original song.

Overall, the soundtrack is a strange and appealing mélange heavily of French accordion ballads and blending everything from big-band sounds, spooky mood pieces, and Django-esque swing guitar. It was composed mostly in a Montreal studio and then in a barn next to Chomet's house in Normandy, France.
"It was a thrill, quite a trip," he says in an interview. "We encouraged each other -- 1,000 people or one billion, what's the difference? I've been playing guitar for a long time, and I said 'This is not the time to choke.' "

The exposure is doing wonders for his career. Until now he has kept himself busy composing for TV shows and commercials, along with soundtrack work on other Quebec movies as well as club and festival gigs. But the 39-year-old, who's always lived in Montreal and has earned a living with his guitar since he was a teenager, says he's been getting "all kinds of offers... from record deals to movies to people in Hollywood who want to meet me. That's cool. I'll be able to choose."

Mike Fuhrmann of The Canadian Press


Famed Jazz Accordionist Art Van Damme Performs at Wayne State University

Wayne State University Department of Music in Detroit, Michigan proudly presents legendary jazz accordionist Art Van Damme for a special concert on April 5, as part of their 2003/4 Professional Artist Series. Performing with Van Damme is David Taylor, drums, Steven Carryer, guitar, Ray Tini, bass and special guest Peter Soave the accordion tutor at Wayne State. The concert is being held in the Schaver Music Recital Hall of Wayne State University.

For further information, email

Giorgio Dellarole's April performance - Italy

Successful accordionist, Giorgio Dellarole has many performances scheduled for the month of April across Italy.

As a member of the popular Trio Klezmer and as a soloist, Dellarole will play at:
April 3-4 Trio Klezmer (G. Dellarole - Fisarmonica, M. Limonetti - Clarinetti, A. Sacco - Violino) e Paolo Zavattaro (Attore), Concert in Aymavilles (AO) Cave des Onze Communes Ore 21.00
Spettacolo "Il Sabato è finito" music pieces and test from hebraian author’s autori ebraici

April 26-3 Giorgio Dellarole - Solista, Concerto a Mapello (BG) Auditorium Comunale Ore 20.45 MUSIC by Scarlatti, Moretti, Solotarev, Piazzolla

May 21-5 Trio Klezmer (G. Dellarole - Fisarmonica, M. Limonetti - Clarinetti, A. Sacco - Violino) e Paolo Zavattaro (Attore). Concert in Asola (MN) Ore 17.00
Spettacolo "Il Sabato è finito" music pieces and test from hebraian authors

Organized by Gioventù Musicale d'Italia. For further information, email:

Hammond on European Annual Tour - Germany

American Jazz Accordionist Jon Hammond is on his way to Frankfurt this weekend for his 18th annual tour to Germany and the Frankfurt Musikmesse. Last month, Hammond played a solo concert to 150 patients at Laguna Honda Hospital in California where he will be returning to play again on April 16th.

Hammond has 5 concerts confirmed for the "Ham-Berger Mini-Tour ", kicking off with the 2 Musikmesse Party nights on 2nd & 3rd April in Jazzkeller Hofheim then to Hamburg for a April 5th show in Schnulze, April 7th and 9th in Bremen. All of Hammond's shows will be filmed and recorded for a DVD release later in the year.

For further information, email:


Kapunda Celtic Music Festival - Australia

Kapunda is the oldest mining town in Australia, located 70kms north of the city of Adelaide and its home to the annual Kapunda Celtic Music Festival on April 2nd to 4th. Kapunda has strong links with Celtic traditions as a large number of Welsh, Cornish, Irish and Scottish migrants built the town in the 1840's and 50's providing for an exciting array of talent from accordionists and other instrumentalists.

The Friday night opening concert, the bush verse and all music sessions will take place in the Clare Castle Hotel while Saturday and Sunday programs include workshops and the singing competition. A festival highlight will be a performance by Martyn Wyndham-Read, one of the foremost presenters of the "Australian Folksong".

Travelling with Iris Bishop, a fantastic accordionists from the UK is John Dipper one of the best young fiddlers on the UK Folk scene. "This is an act not to be missed!" say organizers.


Movie Score Heavily Features Accordion Music - Italy, Switzerland

Yet another new movie uses the accordion heavily. Silvio Soldini's new Italian-Swiss film titled "Agata E La Tempesta" is a romantic comedy about a young woman, with a peaceful life running a bookshop, who develops an infatuation for a younger man.

The delightful score is composed by Giovanni Venosta who has collaborated many times with the director on films such as Laria Serna Dell'Ovest, L'Acrobate and Pane E Tulipani. The score is a wonderful combination of laid-back jazz, easy listening themes and Latin style tangos, which works tremendously well.

The accordion is in almost all of the cues and when mixed with a breathy tenor sax provides some fascinating and compelling jazz. The accordion is generally played in short notes giving many of the cues the staccato feeling that comes with Latin-American dances, particularly the tango and the rumba. The music in the movie always seems to be written and performed with a luscious humorous glint and an overwhelming sense of fun. It is great to know that fun scores are still being written and this is one to savour.

Reviewed by Andrew Keech


Quote of the Week

Did You Know? by Willoughby Walshe

Krasnoyarsk Region in Siberia covers a remarkably large territory stretching 2,500 kilometers from north to south and is larger than all of central Europe. In this region there are 103 music schools, 15 of which are in the city of Krasnoyarsk. Each of the schools has departments for harmonica, accordion, Russian folk instruments, ensembles, and orchestras. In March, a Regional Festival and Competition for Ensembles and Orchestra music is held for piano and chromatic accordions.

Find out more….. "Walshe Essential Guide to Accordion and Harmonica Events"


CD Review

New CD "The Moon is Blue" by Kenny and Mary Kotwitz.


New Sites New site about performer Joe Martino Jean Marc Fabiano - French solo performer, conductor, conservatory professor

Updated Sites Silvio de Par advertising the Beautiful Music CD Una Sera con Silvio De Pra with information about Beltuna artists. new site with new products and information


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