Squeeze This: accordion acts you should know

Something for the girls.

Was there anything more unexpected in season three of Mad Men than the scene in which Joan brought out her cherry-red squeezebox, and serenaded a dinner party with "C'est Magnifique?" Accordions were once a bastion of adult gatherings; there were bona fide accordion stars — Dick Contino, who played San Francisco's Barbary Coast in the 1940s, made it on the pop charts — but in this century, they've left the mainstream, resurging underground in pockets of klezmer, pirate polka, Tejano music, and gypsy jazz.

In her new biography, Squeeze This, writer-musician Marion Jacobson delves deep into the history of the instrument and contemplates its place as a cultural technology. At an event this week, Jacobson will likely discuss some of her findings with the Accordion Apocalypse crew (and sign copies of her book), followed by squeezebox-filled performances by Luz Gaxiola, the Mad Maggies, and Sheri Mignano.

In anticipation of her appearance, I asked Jacobson to give us a list of her favorite accordion acts, young and old, traditionalists and rule-breakers. See her responses below:

Marion Jacobson’s Top Five Accordion Acts

Alex Meixner: my definition of an “accordion idol”

Gogol Bordello: gypsy punk

Five-time Grammy winner Flaco Jimenez, the soul of Chicano and Tejano music

Dick Contino: 1950s accordion idol turned hip elder statesman

Weird Al Yankovic: parody + accordion = sublime masterpieces

Two Accordionists to Watch Out For
Cory Pesaturo: no accordionist today has better improv chops

Ginny Mac: she sings, too!

In a Category of Their Own Making
Those Darn Accordions: Welcome to hell, here’s your accordion

Squeeze This! A Cultural History of the Accordion book event
With author Marion Jacobson, music by Luz Gaxiola, with the Mad Maggies, and Sheri Mignano
Thu/16, 7pm, free
Accordion Apocalypse
255 10th St., SF
(415) 596-5952


If you like music with accordion, I suggest you listen to Infinite Accordion, an Internet radio station that streams it non stop. Yes, it's my station, but I make no money from it. I've spent about seven years compiling the over 1,000 songs from all over the world that make up the playlist. If you have any suggestions for additions, please email me at john at 720 dot com.

Posted by John E. on Aug. 15, 2012 @ 5:34 pm

Thank you thank you thank you! I love it! I listen whenever I get a chance. Yes yes yes yes!

Posted by Guest Frank Phillet on Mar. 31, 2013 @ 8:44 am

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