Sunday, December 25, 2016

The Sound of a New Organetto (A Polka and Bourrées)

It took all of on ONE DAY for UPS to bring this beauty to me from England. A Christmas gift from my father,

An "organetto" is "a popular Italian folk instrument allied to the accordion." This organetto looks and acts an awful lot like a small one-row (with two extra buttons) box that is a joy to play. In this case the box is in A flat  -- an unusual key for boxes. A chromatically oriented friend asked, "How many tunes do you play that are in A flat?" I responded, "On this box, they're all in A flat." We live in a diato world.

Here are three videos I shot this morning, while waiting for the duck and lamb to cook for Christmas dinner. The first has me yammering for a few seconds and then playing a polka and a bourrée. The next two are two other bourrées. Enjoy and good holidays!







Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Auvergne Diffusion Downloads!


I bought this.
On December 1, something happened over at Auvergne Diffusion that, frankly, I had completely given up hope would ever happen. They made downloads of recordings from their vast, glorious catalogue available for the first time. It being my birthday on December 2, I struck with alacrity. At around five euros per recording (OMFG, the Euro is so low!) and the fact that PayPal handles the conversion, I don’t know how AuvDif could have made it easier. Goodbye, shipping and handling.

As a first offering, AuvDif offered nine recordings by Les Brayauds – a collective featuring the brothers Didier and Eric Champion – and one by Komred, a quintet led by the fabulous Etienne Loic, a master bourrée-ist who I’ve featured about before.

And this.


For someone interested in the beauties of old – obscure, archaic music forms – I am a complete non-aesthete when it comes to recorded sound. Vinyl – meh. CDs, other physical media? No, I don’t feel the need to “own the physical object.” Storage challenges don’t improve my quality of life. I want to hear this music! I am voracious, I get it! The soundtrack for this life of mine. Thank you, Auvergne Diffusion. You have improved my quality of life.




And this, too!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Scottiche à Catinaux



A few days ago I came across a performance of Scottiche à Catinaux (spellings vary, but I like this one) by French one-row accordeonaire Gilles Poutoux. In itself it's unusual to hear French tunes on the one-row (though there is the obvious connection to Quebecois and Cajun one-row traditions), but the tune happened to be one of my faves, a  Bal Folk standard.



The scottiche is a medium tempo couples dance in 4/4 (I love medium tempo). This one is particularly simple and seems to come along early in the learning arc of many players. Perhaps because, it appeared on Jean Blanchard's seminal Accordeon Diatonique recording, which set the bar for everyone back in 1977. But its simplicity does not diminish the joy and possibilities for Scottiche à Catinaux. Poutoux on the one-row plays a bubbly sort of scottiche, with a lot of verve and vim. But that's his take on the tune. Here is the sheet music, the pure tune:

Scottiche à Catinaux


(NOTE: This is a correction from an earlier posted image, h/t Anahata)

Notice on the third beat of the first bar in the B section, where the melody drops. It goes to an A, An F chord is the natural choice, and that F chord makes all the difference. The F chord confirms that, in fact, there is love in the room. That's right. I said it.

There are many versions of this tune on the YouTubes. I especially love Anahata's version, pairing the tune with Scottish á Virmoux, another ear worm of a tune.




Finally, I'll offer my own version from my CD, L'Autre Diatoniste (available at Bandcamp). At this far remove (it was recorded five years ago) it sounds too fast (that's the trouble with technically easy tunes), but I still like it. I like Will Leavitt's spoon playing. And I like the second tune, L'eau de Roche. Enjoy.




Thursday, November 17, 2016

Two 2-beat Bourrées

Bog standard performance of rock solid standards of the Auvergnat set. I play these with Le Bon Truc. My approach is essentially pretending I'm playing a one row. Going for the primitive.





Sunday, November 13, 2016

Le Bon Truc Photos

Some great photos taken by daughter Brigid of our Mayo Street gig in Portland. Blue light. Who knew? Le Bon Truc is Gary Chapin, Barbara Truex, and Steve Gruverman

Our trio at work

Dulcimer, Barbara Truex

Dancer, Marie Wendt

Clarinet hands. Like jazz hands, but cooler

Strewn Accordions

"So, what are we playing next?"

We love each other.







Thursday, November 3, 2016

French Dance, Portland, Maine, November Six

On Sunday, November 6 at Mayo Street Arts, in Portland, Maine, my trio will be playing for an extended French extravaganza. Beginning at 4:00 pm, we will play for a dance workshop, led by the fabulous Marie Wendt. At 7:00 pm we'll play an hour long concert. Them at 8:15, we'll continue the dancing with a proper French Bal Folk! Join us!


Monday, October 17, 2016

Last Night's Gig! (Video)

Yesterday, Le Bon Truc played at the Cafe at the Armory in Somerville, MA. It's a great space and it was a great short set. We shared the evening with a fantastic Afro-Cuban-Brazilian drum and voice ensemble. They were mesmerizing. A friend in the audience shot some video on her phone and it came out damn good! She posted them on Facebook, so I can't embed. Here are some links:




Enjoy!



Monday, June 13, 2016

Florence Pindivic Monday!

As promised a few weeks ago while talking about the other Flo of diato land, here is a piece played by Florence Pindivic, or DiouFlo fame. The tune is "Negen Rozen," by Mark Söhngen. Next time I will celebrate the duo qua duo.


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Pilgrimage to the Button Box


Le Maestro, Doug
I found myself spending a day working in Connecticut, and decided on a whim to cut out early and take a swing to The Button Box, a mere two point five hours away, and a genuine melodeon mecca. While the trip to Sunderland, Mass., did have a whiff of the sacred to it, there was no penitence, penance, or redemption involved, just the sort of prosaic joys that give one hope in the world.

There was a Dino Baffetti three row, big button, five coupler Tex-Mex machine in Tex-Mex colors that sounded wonderful but ... defeated me. I think I've found the limit in size for me for an accordion. If I find myself using gravity to assist on the pulls, then it's too much!

Who really runs things? I think we know
There was a flock of one row boxes in D. Maybe they've suddenly gone out of style and thus are ending up on Doug's shelves? Unlikely, as these were things of beauty. I was interested in trying out the two Castagnari Max boxes, one used for a mere $1995, the other new for $2525 (I see the used one is gone, now.) Try as I might I could not talk myself out of coveting those. I also tried a Pointe Noir box which was an absolute joy, but is in Cajun temperament. My band mates are already pissed off at me for having to tune to the three rows of reeds on the Saltarelle.

Best of all, of course, was catching up with Doug, who I am shocked to realize I have known for eighteen years! Aside from being a Dad, there is nothing I've done for eighteen years together. But I still remember, vividly, buying my first box from Doug, the mighty Corso.

Also, there was a way cool dog, and I bought some shirts.



I bought a shirt.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

‎Stéphane Milleret Announces Instruction Videos


 ‎Stéphane Milleret on the right, with partner Norbert Pignol
Hurrah!

Over on Facebook, a few days ago, ‎wizard accordionist Stéphane Milleret announced that, beginning next September he will be launching a series of instructional videos. These will be posted in the shop on the Mustradem site. Each video will be around 15 or 20 minutes. Over a series of months, the videos will focus on a single tune, beginning with the melody and then moving on to accompaniment and rhythm. The videos will have English subtitles. I will shout from the rooftops when they go live.

Just for fun, here's an instructional video, part of a series that Milleret and Pignol posted a few years ago. Six weeks ago, I featured M&P as Monday Melodeons.



Monday, May 23, 2016

Monday Flo

This is Florence Glorion a player of the chromatic button accordion, who duets often with  diato player Florence Pindivic. They host a site together, Diou Flo, which focuses primarily on Breton music. I love both of the Florences' music, and will feature Pindivic next week.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Unknown Tune in Four

The Theme of the Month at mel,net is "Something in Four." It's for the odds and sods tunes. The march, polka, or whatever that seems somehow different and out of place. This tune is one that I learned from a fiddler about fifteen years ago. I don't know if I ever knew what it was called, but I certainly don't now. I can't honestly even say what type of tune it is or its provenance. It sounds Breton? Maybe and an dro? If YOU know, please say so in the comments.



P.S., I used my phone for this recording and I'm still figuring out the best way to do that. I'll do better next time.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Alain Pennec, Breton Accordion

A bit of Alain Pennec to start off your week. He's known for deploying interesting band arrangements, so capturing him solo is a special treat. Enjoy.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Dino Baffetti: The Tattoo

Just a few months after getting the tattoo of my beloved Hohner Erica, I've gone and finished the set. Below you can see may latest ink, a rendering by Moonman Sam of the Black Baffetti -- my Dino Baffetti three-row Tex-Mex. I love the R. Crumb style. This will probably be my last ink for a while ... at least until I get another box!


Monday, April 18, 2016

Pignol & Milleret Monday

I have not been attending to my duties. I've been traveling and actually had to move house. I'm in a very nice new place, and life is good. I did play at NEFFA with the quintet, Nouveau Chapeau. We played an hour of mazurkas for a mazurka dancing workshop. Who knew such a thing existed?!? That was a blast. Maybe next year scottishes?

For today I am posting two older vids worthy of study, they are of the duo Stephan Milleret and Norbert Pignol, two monsters in the field. Aside from their playing, they have been enormously influential on modern box playing through their four volume Diatonic Accordion Method. Here are the men themselves. Nearly 20 minutes of goodness.



Monday, March 28, 2016

Monday in Estonia

Going far afield for this one, Ida Furusæter playing at a 2010 Estonian Lõõtspillifestivalil festival. I've watched this one dozens of times and keep coming back to it. Check out her left hand. Pretty sure her basses are unisonoric. It is to die for. This one is dedicated to friend, Edda Thiele!

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Belgians Are Here

Not to say Didier Laloy, Wim Claeys, Bruno LeTron, and Frédéric Malempré are Belgian -- maybe they are, maybe they aren't -- but this musical movement, with the Handry 18 Castagnaries surrounding you, coming right at you ... (the grillwork! the grillwork!) ... feels Belgian. En Flanders, as Frédéric Paris might say. So, this is Tref! Enjoy!


Monday, March 14, 2016

Didier Laloy Lundi

Didier Laloy is one of the great "Belgian-Handry-18" players -- along with Francois Heim and Bruno LeTron -- playing with a sensitivity that can be striking. He's also a wildly and theatrically physical player, though you won't see that in this piece. Enjoy.



Monday, March 7, 2016

Emmanuel Monday

This week I bring you (or remind you) of this Emmanuel Pariselle performance of "La Nonchalante." A genuine classic, I think. Singing and accompaniment at its best.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Le Bon Truc Trio Rehearsal Audio

The other Le Bon Truc Trio!
Quite the week for music and the squeezy stuff. Three rehearsals in the space of seven days, preparing for three different gigs. The quintet Nouveau Chapeau is preparing for NEFFA, as mentioned in a previous post. The Le Bon Truc Trio (with Steve on clarinet), is preparing for the Downeast Country Dance Festival (called DEFFA, but the acronym doesn't quite seem to work). The other Le Bon Truc Trio (with Joelle Morris singing) is preparing for a performance at a French immersion school here in Maine.

L'Autre Bon Truc Trio: Rehearsal Compilation


Because I take a phenomenological approach to the box -- as should we all -- I enjoy sharing my process warts and all. Barbara Truax (Le Bon Truc plectrist and percussionismo) recorded our rehearsal this Saturday. It's embedded above, and you can hear us -- having not played for a year -- finding our way back into collaboration. It's clunky at moments, but it was really a good time. Enjoy.

Monday, February 29, 2016

J'ai Vu le Loup Lundi!

From 1993, a reminder that these two kids -- Chris Wood and Andy Cutting -- originally came together over a shared fascination for Quebecois music. I don't recall many times seeing Andy on a one row, though I do see a couple in his list of gear.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Marc Perrone Monday

One of the true masters of the resurgent generation of the 1970s, Marc Perrone has influenced every accordionist playing today. Here he is concert with Marie-Odile Chantran.


Thursday, February 18, 2016

You had me at Mazurka ...

Some mazurkas wot we might play!
"So," said Steve Gruverman, "at NEFFA, do you want to do a mazurka --"

"Yes."

"-- workshop with --"

"Yes."

"-- Lynn Baumeister?"

"Yes."

"Yes?"

"You had me at Mazurka."

To summarize: At the New England Folk Festival (a.k.a., NEFFA), the Nouveau Chapeau quintet will be doing a mazurka dance workshop with instructor Lynn Baumeister. The festival runs from April 15 to 17. We are doing this workshop on Saturday evening, the 16th.

We've put together a nice set of mazurkas to work up (see the picture to the right), and begin rehearsing in a week or so.

I've made no secret of my love of the mazurka in all varieties -- from its galumphy mid-tempo version all the way to the current, "sexy" 9/8ish variety. An embarrassment of riches. That's what my life is.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Loic Lundi!

Here's one of my all time favorite impromptu videos featuring Etienne Loic. A very Auvergnat jam session taking place at Embraud in 2013. Enjoy this oceanic wave of bourrée. More can be found at an earlier post, here.



Something about his feet ...

Thursday, January 28, 2016

New Accordion Tattoo!

Got this done today. A bit of fatalistic faldarall thrust in the face of a cold, unfeeling universe. I like it. So there. This was done by Moonman Sam (Hill) in Hallowell, Maine.



You may recall Sam's previous work on me.


Monday, January 4, 2016

Yann Dour, Breton Dance

This Monday, I would like to point your attention to this Yann Dour video from 2007. Aside from the precision in the playing and coolness of the tune (Scottish à André, according to one of the commenters), I always marvel at the power of a musician who can drive a room full of dancers like this. I know it's not unheard of, but as someone who plays for dancers, I still find it impressive.