Posted on November 19, 2007 by rodney
Tags: wrocław

Please note: If you sent me any e-mail between 12AM Saturday (17/11/2007) and 7PM Monday (Perth time), then I did not receive it. During this time my ISP had two issues with its mail system which caused e-mails to bounce.

This weekend the Leśnica “castle” centre of culture hosted Muzyki Akordeonowej Harmonia Viva, some sort of accordion music festival, with workshops, a competition, and concerts. For some reason I have a special soft spot for accordion music.

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So yesterday evening I took the tram out to the end of the line – Leśnica, to hopefully listen to some accordion music in the closing concert of the event.

In my ignorance, I was expecting a band with two or more accordions, perhaps some singing, and German style folk music ala Oktoberfest, or polkas. Actually, we received Klezzmates.

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These guys are supercool. For a start they all wear red tinted glasses. They are totally relaxed on stage. Not to mention the music. It seemed to me like Klezzmates were sent here from some exotic and far away Balkan capital or perhaps outer space to demonstrate to the world how their music sounds.

They were masters in creating a mood. To the accordion’s drone and a steady line plucked on the double bass, the clarinetist added shrieks and wails, and the violinist interspersed scratchy string noises. The drummer posessed an arsenal of tom toms to hit, lots rattly things to shake, and a tiny cymbal that went ¡ding! They would build up like this and then suddenly explode into the refrain. The noises that came out of the clarinet and violin were a controlled chaos.

I was surprised at how understated the accordion’s part was, considering that they were playing at an accordion event, and the accordionist was also the band leader. However I think the accordion was the most important piece of this band, and its subtlety is the key to their success. The accordion provided an additional bass line and rhythm, making the sound full, and then was also a solo instrument or accompaniment. Of course it’s not as versatile as a keyboard but being a wind instrument it has a lot of expression. And a special sound. The lowest notes on an accordion sound pretty phat.

I’m glad that Klazzmates were my introduction to this genre of music. I recommend listening to the MP3s available on their website.