2010 Festival | Vancouver Squeezebox Circle homepage

Thursday September 10th - Saturday September 12th, 2009:
the Second Annual Accordion Noir Festival!

Update! A huge, gushing, squeezy thanks to all our friends, volunteers and performers for their help in making our second festival a blowout! Thanks to Todd Wong and Alan Zisman, we have plenty of photos and video footage of our mega-sized Squeezebox Circle gathering, the festival launch party, the accordion parade and the squeezebox circle orchestra performance on the festival mainstage! In addition to Geoff Berner's guest spot live on the air DURING the festival, when it was all done an hour-long highlights reel from the festival was also aired on the Accordion Noir show.

We now return you to the 2009 fest's website, as it was.

Site Menu: Festival Posters
Thurs: Squeezebox Circle
Fri: Festival Launch Party
Sat afternoon: Workshops
Sat evening: Film Fest
Sat night: Mainstage

  The CFRO Co-op Community Radio show and hit international podcast Accordion Noir joins forces with preeminent Vancouver klezmerpunk ringleader Geoff Berner to present the second in an annual series of demonstrations of the humble squeezebox's unrealised potential -- trenchant, gritty, and with a much farther-ranging emotive palette than was ever dreamed of in Lawrence Welk's sepia-toned philosophy.

 Expanding to three days in its second year after selling out the Railway Club (leaving a line-up of sophisticated live music fans trailing down the stairs and spilling out on to the sidewalks for a chance to get in and hear some accordion played right), the festival offers something for everyone: a bevy of local rising talents skilled in the squeezely arts as well as mainstage performers crossing provincial and national borders just to show you what they can do with their accordions, plus workshops, a free-reed film festival and even an accordion open stage for those who've been waiting a long, long time for a chance to shake their bellows in public.

Here's our posters (click on them for larger versions) and a swell audio promo, but there's an abundance of further information below...


Site Menu: Festival Posters
Thurs: Squeezebox Circle
Fri: Festival Launch Party
Sat afternoon: Workshops
Sat evening: Film Fest
Sat night: Mainstage

Thursday, Sept 10th: Vancouver Squeezebox Circle and open stage, 8-10 pm
at Spartacus Books (at 684 East Hastings Street at Heatley)

By donation (suggested donation: $5)

Since March of 2007, Accordion Noir has been cultivating its garden by hosting an on-and-off monthly low-impact social gathering for squeezeboxes (accordions, bandoneons, bayans, concertinas, melodeons etc.) and the people who squeeze them -- an evening to share songs in all styles, trade tips and stories for novices and old hands alike. Though most months we meet the first Thursday of the month, Sept and Oct of 2009 will see convocations on the 2nd Thursday.from a photo by Su Fang

Site Menu: Festival Posters
Thurs: Squeezebox Circle
Fri: Festival Launch Party
Sat afternoon: Workshops
Sat evening: Film Fest
Sat night: Mainstage

 Friday, Sept 11th: Accordion Noir Festival launch party, 8 pm-1 am
at Cafe Montmartre (at 4362 Main Street @ 28th Avenue)

By donation (suggested donation: $7)

Joanna Chapman-Smith

Backing up and being backed up in turn by some of East Van's choicest musical performers (T.Nile, Lily Come Down), this dynamic multi-instrumentalist is picking up her squeezebox following the release of her album Contraries earlier this year.


Dawn Zoe

Coming from a family with deep musical roots, Dawn Zoe thinks hard before squeezing deep for a wide array of projects that had never known how badly they'd needed her accordion on board until they managed to secure it, from circuses to soundwalks and beyond.


Andy Fielding

After demonstrating formidable stride jazz piano chops in Tunes for Tommy with Rick Fay in 1999 and Playing for Keeps in 2001, he jumped from one keyboard instrument to another and picked up the piano accordion. Also make sure to check out his songwriting workshop Saturday afternoon!

Andy Fielding

Barbara Adler
(Squeezebox and Hound, the Fugitives)

Coming from a creative background of slam poetry and spoken word, Barbara's time with Mark Berube in the Fugitives and subsequent melodica duties led her to the irrevocable pairing of the stomach Steinway with her rapidly-expanding collection of traveling tales.


Tina Tew

Where do you go when you've hit the top of the klezmer trombone circuit? Tina decided to break free of that particular ghetto and picked up the squeezebox to walk on the wild side and see how the other half lived.

from a photo by Sarah Bastin


You can take the boys out of the Balkans, but you can't take the Balkans out of the boys. Complementing a band-in-a-box with a horn section and a couple of extra players, they pledge to make you adopt their seemingly contradictory mantra: Drink until you're sober, dance until you're dry!

the Creaking Planks

East Van's notorious jug band of the damned closed last year's inaugural Accordion Noir Festival at the Railway Club sometime around 3 in the morning despite great protests from the patrons, a career highlight that includes busking on the SeaBus during the pirate flashmob and introducing the ZombieWalk to Vancouver. The accordion is the strangest instrument present in most bands, but here Blackbox Squeezebeard's is just about the most normal.


Also that night, from 9:30-10:30 pm, we'll be featuring festival mainstay Geoff Berner live on the air at long last on our weekly Accordion Noir radio broadcast at 102.7 fm for those of you who can't make it out to the show.

Saturday, Sept 12th: Workshops (4-6 pm), Film Festival (6-8 pm) and Mainstage Performances (8 pm-1 am) all at the WISE Hall (at 1882 Adanac Street @ Victoria Drive)

The day kicks off with an informal accordion parade (weather permitting) at 4 pm, running from Grandview Park (at the corner of Commercial Drive and Charles Street) 5 blocks north along the Commercial Drive sidewalks and two blocks east up Adanac Street to the WISE Hall.

Site Menu: Festival Posters
Thurs: Squeezebox Circle
Fri: Festival Launch Party
Sat afternoon: Workshops
Sat evening: Film Fest
Sat night: Mainstage


4:15 pm - Rickey Mann:
Accordion maintenance and repair

Following a youth of musical virtuosity, Rickey Mann has rapidly become the Lower Mainland's go-to man for squeezebox repair following Renzo Faoro's retirement. Last seen bringing Dick Contino to town, he'll share a few tricks of the trade with us and might introduce you to a few specialised tools you've never seen before!

We didn't have a picture of Rickey Mann on file, so here's a George Herriman rendition of Krazy Kat playing a concertina.

5:00 pm - Andy Fielding:
Composing for the accordion

Andy will expand on his own compositional craft and examine how to develop melody ideas to more fleshed-out arrangements complete with reprises, ornaments and flourishes!


5:45 pm - Bruce Triggs:
Accordion history

Following nearly three years hosting his brainchild, the weekly Accordion Noir radio programme / podcast, Bruce has fielded some extremely esoteric questions on the already marginal and underground subject of the accordion. Abstracted from the myopia of genre ghettos, his arm's-length distance has been alllowing him to perceive the bigger picture of the accordion story, as it continues to unfold. He's been working on a book, and if we're not careful, he may share some of it with us.


Workshop entry is included with $15 advance tickets, or a $20 all-day pass sold at the door on Saturday, also good for the evening performances.

Site Menu: Festival Posters
Thurs: Squeezebox Circle
Fri: Festival Launch Party
Sat afternoon: Workshops
Sat evening: Film Fest
Sat night: Mainstage

 Accordion Film Festival:

Accordion Player (France, 1888)

Louis Le Prince was arguably the first filmmaker, arranging several very brief sequences of moving images in Leeds, UK, in 1888. This very brief film depicts Adolphe Le Prince, Louis' son, operating a diatonic button accordion on the steps of the entrance to the home of his grandfather, Joseph Whitley. (0:08)

Young Vigilante Accordionist Girl on an Istanbul Street (Turkey, 2000)

Leonard Davis of Pangeality Productions captures a moment in the hardscrabble life of a street busker living on the edge. In a world where playing the accordion is wrong, do we really want to be right? (0:49)

Tar Valley Mystery / The Imp of Alcohol (Sweden, 2005)

Film effects master Richard Svensson teamed up with his uncle Ingvar to present a cautionary tale of alcohol and accordion abuse integrating live-action performance with stop-motion animation. (1:21)

Time To Kill (Canada, 2008)

A series of dark romantic possibilities are explored as vignettes in Danielle French's adaptation of her song of the same name off her 2007 album Shadows. (5:32)

Ask Me No Questions (Canada, 2008)

Magnus Renfors produced and directed this dreamlike music video for a song off of Wendy McNeill's 2008 album A Dreamer's Guide to Hardcore Living. (3:25)

Sound of the Phoenix (The Netherlands, 2005)

Hans Ris of k238 studios made this surprisingly complete accordion-history-in-a-nutshell documentary as film student coursework at SAE. "The documentary had a time limit of five minutes, I haggled two minutes extra time, because of my idea of doing an accordion hip hop at the end credits" ... so stay tuned! (6:23)

Behind the Bellows (US, 2009)

Steve Mobia and Screen Door Productions present a full documentary seven years in the making, fresh from having debuted in August 2009 at the Cotati Accordion Festival. This film asks "What happened?" to cause the instrument's calamitous disappearance from the scene in the '60s... and investigates the wonderful and strange things that have emerged as a result of the exile. Includes interviews and performances by luminaries including Guy Klucevsek and Dick Contino. (60:00)


Site Menu: Festival Posters
Thurs: Squeezebox Circle
Fri: Festival Launch Party
Sat afternoon: Workshops
Sat evening: Film Fest
Sat night: Mainstage

 Mainstage performances:

Sam "Story" Wight (Charlottetown, PEI)
(Cross, Eviction Party, Missed Life)

Emerging from the Maritimes punk scene, Story set the guitar rawk aside in favour of a quieter intensity on the squeezebox, demonstrated on the EP things left unsaid.

from a photo by Martin Cathrae

Geoff Berner (Vancouver, BC)

Geoff Berner cut his teeth writing pointed, punky songs for local outfit the Terror of Tiny Town before striking it out on his own with his axe Estella in 2000. Together they plumbed Belgian prisons, convalesced in Romanian hospitals and conquered Scandinavia, and tonight he will show us all what he has learned along the way.

from a photo by Jessica Eaton

Jason Webley (Seattle, WA, USA)

With a disarming grin like a shark in Cheshire Cat's clothing, Jason Webley has been relentlessly throwing himself to the forefront of a Tom Waits-ian gritty cabaret revival, from touring Russian oblasts forbidden to foreigners -- by invitation! -- with Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls, to hosting good, clean fun 'n games for the Tomato Scouts at the annual Camp Tomato in the Emerald City. He keeps his busking roots close to his heart through percussive use of a vodka bottle filled with coins from around the world, and has mastered the fine and subtle art of charming crowds not expecting accordion performance.


Not in Vancouver, BC?
Not going to be anywhere near it?
But still on or near the West Coast of North America?
You might still be able to get a taste of the greatness we'll be enjoying and catch Jason and Geoff,
along with Eric Stern (Portland) and Stevhen Iancu (Japan), on...
the Monsters of Accordion tour through Sept 1st!

In the meantime, stay tuned to the weekly Accordion Noir podcast to get your fix!

Accordion Noir: Ruthlessly pursuing the belief that the accordion is just another instrument.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Accordion Noir: One Less Guitar                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Accordion Noir: Radio Free Reed                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Accordion Noir: Accordion crimes need a good reporter                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Accordion Noir: Proudly squeezing our boxes and pumping our organs since 2006.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Accordion Noir: Squeezing the last breath out of life!

This website does not use any accordion menus... but we couldn't resist bringing it up.
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