I realize that with most readers of my blog, I’m preaching to the converted. The rest of you sad, stupid people out there who think the accordion is nothing more than the butt of a bad joke? Get over yourselves.
The accordion is a serious, sophisticated instrument, and to watch someone like Roberto Cassan play it so masterfully is to witness a thing of beauty. A few months ago (yes, a few months–I’m ridiculously behind on blog posts) I was lucky enough to be invited to Grand Fatilla’s CD release party–thank you, James Gerke! They played to a private audience of their adoring Kickstarter supporters at the oh-so-cool Regatta Bar in Cambridge, MA, and they were spectacular.
A 1992 Los Lobos concert I attended at the now-defunct Flood Zone in Richmond, VA, remains at the top of my list of favorite live music experiences, but watching Grand Fatilla in the Regatta Bar that warm August evening rivaled that rockin’ show. I was positively giddy.
In Cambridge, this quartet of masterful musicians (accordion, electric mandolin, stand-up bass, and percussion/vocals) played a wonderfully funky blend of world music. Think Argentine tangos and Italian tarantellas with some Irish reels and Bulgarian folk tunes thrown in. Oh, and let’s not forget the original tunes, like the song Roberto wrote for his daughter called “Milonga para Lucia.” It made me cry.
Here’s another Roberto original that I caught on tape that night. It’s called “Domenie,” and you need to check out the bellows shake at the beginning. Wow.
Here they are playing another song, in another Cambridge venue, over a year ago. My friend James, who gets major kudos for introducing me to this incredible band, captured this one.
Go to their website to learn more about these first-rate musicians. Then do yourself a favor and click the shop button and buy their CD for everyone on your Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanza list. You’ll be glad you did.
Accordions rule. So does Roberto.