It's a San Antonio Squeeze Box Invasion!
From Argentine tango to Zydeco, the accordion is versatile
By R.U. Steinberg, 2:11PM, Tue. Oct. 4, 2011
On October 7-9, accordionists from around the world will gather in San Antonio for the 11th annual International Accordion Festival. Held every year at La Villita along the Riverwalk, the free festival proves the accordion is a universal language.
If the first night's offering is any indication of the rest of the weekend, the festival should prove to be one of the best international music festivals to hit Texas in recent years. It begins with a strong regional mix at 6:30pm Friday with Austin's blues/psychobilly band Bluesqueezebox. Next up will be Grammy-nominated Pine Leaf Boys, a Cajun band from Louisiana who have brought their music to places as far away as the Middle East (think peace process through accordion music). The night concludes with Tex-Mex conjunto accordionist Albert Zamora. Known for his Norteno take on "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," Zamora owns 12 accordions, all of which have a name and purpose of their own. With that many instruments, he's an accordion festival himself!
On Saturday and Sunday, workshops start at noon and performances start at 1:30pm. Highlights include:
• Ivan Milev, whose career spans three decades and whose innovation in Bulgarian wedding music has brought him thousands of fans.
• The Arabic music stylings of Elias Lammam and the Lamman Group, which include accordions tuned to Middle Eastern scales or maqams.
• Joao Cerilo, whose influences include Creole, African influenced polyrhythms, and batuku and funana vocal styles.
• The seductive sound of Argentinean tango master Hector del Curto, who follows in the footsteps of his grandfather and great-grandfather.
• master accordionist and fiddler Dwight Lamb, who learned Danish tunes from his grandfather and managed to remember about 100 of those songs.
• Montreal-based klezmer accordionist Socalled, who mixes the 1930s Yiddish sound with funk and hip-hop.
• The stylings of Buille, which hails from Ireland and mixes traditional Celtic sound with jazz, blues, Greek and Turkish wedding music, and modern classical;
• San Antonio's own Alamo Angels Accordion Orchestra, a project of Dreams Fulfilled Through Music, a pioneer in developing creative teaching for students with all types of disabilities.
For a full schedule, visit the International Accordion Festival website.