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JamApril 22, 2012

I've been playing music lately, drawn to the accordion more and more. It's been about a year that I've been fooling around with it now, and while I'm still not reliable with both hands at once, I can noodle around more or less non-embarrassingly with either hand. I have ONE song I can do with both hands (Eilen Jewell's "Walking Down the Line"). I believe that's what you call a start. And, hey, if I'm playing only the bass buttons, I can sing along. Kind of. 

We got together with a group of women a couple of weeks ago and spent the entire afternoon playing bluegrass. Accomplished musicians and singers, I played as quietly as I could most of the time, as I was by far the least talented, instrument-wise. I managed to tape one short version of "I'll Fly Away." (I'm the low alto.) 


 And the other night, I got together with the knitters to play some tunes. ALL THE WORLDS COLLIDE. At A Verb For Keeping Warm, we had an upright bass (Lala), drums and trumpet (Adrienne, of Verb), and two accordions in addition to mine (Stephen hizKnits and Sonya of the Felt Cervix Project). Lala also had her banjo with her, but we decided that a jam consisting of a banjo, three accordions and a trumpet was just asking for trouble.  

Stephen and Lala bonded over their t-shirts: 


Stephen's has Obama riding a unicorn, and Lala's has Batman riding a unicorn, saying "Giddyup." There was also an almost unbelievable moment when the two of them rapped "Bring the Noise" by Public Enemy back and forth to each other while the rest of us watched, dumbfounded. 

Then we jammed, man. Imagine three (THREE) accordions in one spot. Three is just about two and half too many for most gatherings. At times, it sounded experimental punk music being played by junkies wearing earplugs. At other times, though? It sounded awesome. 


Adrienne, with her "drums" at her feet, Sonya's accordion in the foreground. Yes, A's wearing shades at night. That's how trumpet players do. 

It all reminded me of what I love best about playing music--it absolutely forces you into a space in which you are bound to screw up, usually in front of other people. That's really hard for me, and it's scary. But there's a contrary part of myself that absolutely loves doing things that scare me. The high afterward is just so damn high, you know? 

My favorite photo of the night: 


Here, Stephen was about to look up and see the host of accordion angels that Sonya and I so clearly saw (they had wings made of wool and their harps were strung with qiviut). 



Loved 'I'll Fly Away'....you are a woman of many amazing talents :) Thanks for brightening my Sunday wtih your song and I too believe that angel's harps are strung with qiviut..now if only I could get some for myself :)

Love this so damn hard. After much in the way of youthful music lessons, I never got to the point of playing for pleasure. I did play with others during an ill-fated and short-lived stint in my primary school orchestra. (Let's just say I spent a lot of time fussing with my bow and pretending to play.) it was so, so lovely playing with you guys. Your encouragement and generosity made it a wonderful evening.

Loved "I'll Fly Away". That was fun to hear. We need to hear more...... :) Have a great week!

haha!! SO cute!! I am ready when you guys are ready for a Sunday afternoon concert. Serenade for knitters, spinner, and seamsters.

That final photo is fantastic! Love it! Wish I could jam with you all on fiddle. I know what you mean by that fear of messing up, but hey... at least with three accordians no one could hear my squeaks and squacks.

One of my favourite bands is just three accordions. Look up Stars by the Motion Trio -- you'll thank me.

Great harmonies, I sent a copy to some of my band members to show them at least one Herron can sing.

Off The Griddle anchored the jam at the Red Barn Concert series last week, with Little Black Train (Stu Mason) the main attraction. At break I ran into an Arroyo Grande Hi teacher (Josh? Zeke? Zack?) who remembered one of my daughters as "the next Inga Swearingen" and wondered if she followed her singing talent...Hmmm, you are better than Inga, but I didn't bother pointing it out.

Keep on swingin and singin.


Love, love, love this post!!!! It just made me smile the whole way through. Gotta love it when worlds collide.

I love your favorite photo of the night 3 accordions = awesome.I love that you shared this!

This post totally made me want to get back to the choir I used to sing with - thanks!

Is there anything not wonderful about Verb? If there is, I haven't found it!

I work at a highschool and our jazz band wears black button down shirts and black pants for concerts. There is a tradition that the trumpet players, who are in the back row, wear white socks and no shoes. I, who love my jazz band kids, love that!

Beautiful voices! You have inspired me to sing as loud as I please in the shower. And to get my butt back on the piano bench. So thank you!

This seems like the most perfectly awesome evening...all good things together in one room!

That's PRESIDENT Batman to you

One of my favorite songs, love that you love it!

love how same pattern can be used in multiple items.


If you think 3 accordions were a lot , check this link http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/story/2005/08/06/nf-accordion-record-050806.html

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