The accordion, one of the most fascinating, unique and without question culturally important musical instruments that all of us pelangueros can’t get enough of. Yet to be honest, we actually know very little about these squeezable typewriter-looking devices. That is why we knew we had to dedicate an entire episode to the accordion and why we were so excited to welcome Professor of Ethnomusicology at Boston University, Co-Producer of Public Radio International’s Squeeze Box Stories and bad-ass acordeonista of the group Debo Band—http://roadsideanglersguide.com/fishing-book/ Marié Abe. Listen as we learn about the accordion’s origins and its travels through Europe, Africa, the Americas and all the way to Japan.
Tracklist: Raxaul Ferew Hilu – Eshururu Debo Band – Ambassel Debo Band – DC Flower Los Cholos de Pasto – Cumbia de O. Vreeskin Alejo Durán – Mi pedazo de acordeón Squeezebox Stories – Trailer Los Yukinos – De party con las malandrinas Los Perlas – Tener o no tener El Cieguito de Nagua – La bailadora José Santiago Vega – No me hable estrujao 北原謙二 – 銀座パチャンが通り (Kenji Kitahara – Ginza Pachanga) Ferro Gaita – Tareza Petar Ralchev – To the north of Bulgaria Fred Frith – Hands of the juggler
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Here we have 7″ single by José Santiago Vega (Tite) con Los Sureños. Like many artists who played traditional folkloric music his name turns up very little on the internet. For these types of artist, specifically from Puerto Rico who didn’t play Salsa there wasn’t much commercial success for them. But I’m very grateful that these artists keep these musical traditions alive. In this case Plena — a form of music over 100 years old and like other traditional caribbean music played the role of caring news from town to town. The music is lead by the Pandero (a tambourine-like percussion instrument) accompanied by a guiro, a conga drum, a cuarto guitar and sometimes like on this record an accordion. For me the accordion adds a whole other dimension that brings out the melody to it’s fullness.
On Side A we have the song El Mosquitowhich features someone ripping it up on the accordion.
Maybe this is just me, but I often have thought that if someone added electric guitars and a drum kit to Plena and put more political lyrics to the same melodies you’d have incredible punk music. Nonetheless, I love traditional Plena and will do my part to continue to give these artists the shine they deserve.
Tickets are in hand, and the bags are packed. I’m off with my girl friend and parents to spend Christmas and New Years in Puerto Rico. With this trip in mind naturally my ears have been tuning to the sounds of musica puertorriquena more and more, specifically christmas music from the pearl island. For most of my life I’ve hated Christmas music. But that was when I thought all Christmas music was either Christmas carols or sappy nostalgia records. I was overjoyed when I finally found Christmas music that was rich with all the ingredients for the pelanga we love to cook up. There is a wealth of Christmas cumbia, merengue and guaracha that goes perfectly with dancing, drinking and lechon. Here are some of my favorite jíbara records that I’ve I packed for the trip.