I Think Accordions Are Following Me!

Al YankovicImage via Wikipedia
We’ve all been there. You’re sitting at the traffic light waiting patiently for it to change and someone decides that the song on their radio is so good they want to share it with everyone around them by increasing the decibel volume until your fingers tickle as they grasp the vibrating steering wheel.
This morning, I couldn’t appreciate the fellow motorist’s gift and it wasn’t because the lyrics were in Spanish. No. All apologies to Weird Al, but I have to admit it. I don’t care for accordions. OK, OK, the truth? I HATE accordions. There I said it.
Come closer, I’ve got a secret to share. I think the accordion hates me too. Call me paranoid if you want, but the accordion shows up in random places just to piss me off.
I mean, my son comes asks me to play some Katy Perry tune he just heard so I search Youtube and instead of some great video, bam, there’s a band of accordion players knocking out her latest hit on the street…
I decide I wanna read a good book, so I go to the Kindle Store, and there on the front page is Annie Prouix’s bestseller, “Accordion Crimes.” At least there’s a happy ending. According to the review, the instrument is flattened by a truck.
I go on Facebook, and “The Creepy Accordion Woman on Buchanan Street” even has her own business page.
The driver this morning was playing a Mexican radio station that features a healthy dose of Tejano music which widely uses the accordion. Tejano music is huge here. It was popularized by Selena and more recently Elida Reyna and A.J. Castillo who’ve transformed it into its own genre. They even have their own awards show.
The history of Tejano music is strange enough. Sometime in the late 1800s, Germans and Poles exited Europe and ended up in Mexico bringing with them the dreaded accordion to play their waltzes and polkas. Then during the Mexican Revolution, many of these immigrants fled to Texas. Most of these immigrants were typical of the day, ranchers and farmers and their musical instruments were similar to others. Why couldn’t they leave their accordions behind? They are heavy after all. Some weighing in as much as 25 pounds. Not to mention all the air it takes to fill the reeds. The accordion is an exhausting instrument. Why couldn’t they leave it on the side of the road and get back in their wagons? An accordion graveyard, now that’s something I’d go see.
If you like folk music, Tejano music is in itself of very high quality. But, every time the accordion blows its ugly tune, my ears shut down. Seriously. It makes me shudder. I have no idea why. Maybe its cause its so Laurence Welk? Maybe because visions of “The Chicken Dance” pop into my head.
In Far Side, even cartoonist Gary Larson agrees:



“Welcome to Heaven, here’s your harp. Welcome to Hell, here’s your accordion.”

Looking at the bright side, I guess its good that I’m not of Polish descent where the accordion is the center of the music played at every wedding, Christmas, Easter, birthday and graduation event. I’m Scotts-Irish, and we have our own dreaded instrument. The accordion is a screeching bag of hot air with piano keys stuck to it and sounds almost as bad as bagpipes. Bagpipes! Don’t get me started. The shrill and penetrating notes of the bagpipes were used because, even with the roar of the battle, they could be heard 10 miles away. Bagpipes was a call to war by the Scottish and Irish fighters and NOT romantic in any way. Read your history folks or at least watch the Highlanders and then tell me you still think you want to start your married life with the bagpipes at your wedding. If you’re going to have bagpipes or accordions at your wedding, please don’t invite me.
I don’t find accordions sexy, either. In Squeezebox, The Who seems to imply that they’re somehow sexy. Believe me, its not a double-meaning. Its not because they are having a great time in the sack. It’s cause the accordion sucks! If you’re not familiar with The Who’s tune, its about a woman who’s so moved by the music that she can’t sleep at night. They even write, “the music’s alright” but follow it with “daddy doesn’t sleep at night.” Actually, I don’t even hear the accordion on the song. Is it there? Perhaps the band didn’t care for the sound either. Love the song though.
If you hate accordions too meet me over at the I Hate Accordions Facebook Fan page, of which I’m not affiliated, but I’m heading there right now to join.

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