A full Obituary written by Faithe Deffner is now online plus a Celebrity Interview linking from the Obituary which covers the fascinating and extensive musical achievements and international activities of this famous accordion teacher and performer.
Final preparations for the 60th Anniversary Confédération Internationale des Accordéonistes (CIA) Coupe Mondiale, Washington DC, August 13-18, 2007 are now underway. We have visitors registered from around the world, and the event promises to be very large and most exciting.
The www.coupemondiale.org site has just been updated. Entry forms are now available online with secure credit card payment. Delegates and Jury nominations are also online. Please make your hotel reservation online as soon as possible as hotels are quite full. Visa support letters are available from the website too - very important as visas are needed by many countries to come to the USA.
All those attending are urged to organise your accommodation, flights and visa applications quickly due to the large numbers involved.
The largest accordion event in the world took place in the beautiful city of Innsbruck, Austria, from the 17th to 20th May, 2007. The city played host to over 10,000 accordionists from 15 countries including some 300 accordion orchestras and ensembles. A full report and results is online.
Responsible for the eventorganisation was Arnold Kutzli, Vice President of Deutscher Harmonika-Verband e.V., (picture left) who reported that this was the largest World Music Festival ever.
Dermot O’Brien passed away on May 22nd in his hometown of Ardee, County Louth, in the Republic of Ireland, following a long battle with cancer. For many years he had lived in New York, but had returned to Ireland following the death of his wife Rosemarie in January 2005.
Dermot O’Brien was a legend of Irish show business, and was equally well known as a singer and accordionist. After becoming All Ireland Champion in 1954 and 1959, he turned professional, fronting Dermot O’Brien and the Clubmen, a show band whose repertoire ranged from pop music to traditional jazz. In 1966, his vocal/accordion single ‘The Merry Ploughboy’ went straight to number one in the Irish charts, a feat only otherwise achieved by Elvis Presley and the Beatles.
Dermot O’Brien was the most commercially successful accordionist Ireland has produced to date, and his recordings sold in large quantities throughout Ireland, Britain, the USA, and other parts of the English speaking world. He had a huge personal following, and influenced a whole generation of accordionists in Ireland and the UK. Few accordionists worldwide could match Dermot O’Brien’s stage presence, and his ability to entertain was second to none. A truly memorable man who will be sadly missed.
XV Festival Internacional de Acordeón Cantabria - Spain
Contributed by Gorka Hermosa
The XV Festival Internacional de Acordeón event was held from, 11th to 13th May 2007 in the "Teatro Municipal Concha Espina" of Torrelavega and the "Conservatorio Jesús de Monasterio".
It consisted of an International competition of jazz-fusion and entertainment virtuoso music. The results were: 1st Place: Amaia Iraola of Spain (1000€), 2nd Place Grayson Masefield (picture right) of New Zealand (500€) and 3rd Place Jonna Pirttijoki of Finland (200€).
The jury members were: Frederic Deschamps, (picture left) Emilio Otero (orchestra conductor and composer), Jose Manuel Fernández (composer and director of the Conservatorio Jesús de Monasterio of Santander), David Cubillas (violoncellist and director of the Conservatorio of Torrelavega) and Gorka Hermosa.
In the "II Encuentro de Acordeonistas de Cantabria" where 68 students from all areas of Spain competed. The jury consisting of Frederic Deschamps, Arancha Gómez (accordion teacher) and Miren Elorza (accordion teacher) awarded Gold medals to soloists Laura Herrero, Mikel Salaverria and Mario Pasanisi and to the groups "Ensemble Elemental" and "Quinteto de Acordeones de Irún".
Other events included the Final Prize Gala featuring "Orquesta de acordeones Zero Sette", "Acordes Cántabros" accordion quintet and the best players of the weekend, a dinner /dance with "David Sainz and his Orquesta Bouquet" and Master Classes with Frederic Deschamps.
Within the auspicious surroundings of the 19th Century Coats Memorial Church on the Friday 18th May, a charity concert was hosted by the Graham Laurie's Music Education Centre. This concert was held in aid of the NAO Coupe Mondiale 2008 Fund and The Children’s Hospice Association Scotland.
Some 400 people braved a cold and windy night to be entertained with spectacular and varied performances by both the Graham Laurie Paisley Elementary & Intermediate Accordion Orchestras (pictured) playing some traditional and favourite pieces followed by the St. Columbas Pipe Band and The Clydebank Male Voice Choir.
A sum of £1,400 (approx US$2,800) was raised in aid of these 2 charities. A truly memor memorable concert.
Accordionist Emir Bosnjak, based in Denmark but originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina, has released a new CD ‘Orient à la Tino – with Emir Bosnjak’. On this recording, Emir performs with a Danish group Orient à la Tino (Karsten Berger on acoustic and electric guitars, Steen Lind on bass, and Michael Andersen on drums), and the music is inspired by both Western and Eastern cultures. Musical influences include the Middle East, Balkans, Bosnia, Spain, Brazil and Argentina. All titles on the album is composed by guitar player Karsten Berger and Emir Bosnjak.
The musicians explores the music from these different parts of the world, and Orient à la Tino has created its own sound that covers a wide field from simple and gentle tunes to complex works with a lot of nerve. Folk music from several cultures are carefully mixed and synthesized so that the Argentinian milonga gets a kind of hip-hop beat, and the modified rhythm of a samba makes it a little oriental. Orient à la Tino is acoustic/electric world-fusion-global-folk, slightly influenced by jazz.
Pearl Fawcett-Adriano was the very special guest artiste at the Guildford Accordion Club's 17th birthday party night on April 20th 2007, which was held at the Ripley Village Hall, near Guildford in Surrey.
An audience in excess of 150 filled the Ripley Village Hall to enjoy a fantastic performance by this star accordionist performer, all enjoying the wonderful atmosphere created by Pearl and the Guildford Accordion Club, with compere John Cumiskey. The evenings' entertainment included performances by The Tillingbourne Accordion Orchestra, which included Mike Carrington, Doug Carpenter, Egidio Spadaccini and Gennaro Fiondella.
A free glass of wine & a slice of birthday cake plus the usual tea-coffee & biscuits made the party go with a swing, and was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
A glance at the title of the tunes on this album ‘Gypsy Djazz’ is enough to give one an idea of the scope of the Detroit Swingtet, a US based group under the direction of the French accordionist Julien Labro - we are in the Django Reinhardt / Stephane Grappelli zone, and also some Benny Goodman and Hoagy Carmicheal, from whom comes the wonderful ‘Stardust’ included in this album.
Having described the content we should mention the formation, as it is here that there is a difference. The young musicians interpret all the tunes in an excellent manner, with passion and gusto both as a group and when called for, as soloists: the result is that this CD can be played over and over without becoming tiresome. Certainly this is classic music, in some way transformed and yet this group has the effect of an open window in springtime, and it is very nice to listen to these musicians whose delicate manner still manages to add a swing to every note keeping the tunes fresh even though they are 100 years old.
Labro cuts himself some space on the CD with his own composition ‘Valse a Lafayette’, which holds up well in the company of the other famous songs.
Every soloist, Labro on accordion, Dave Bennet on clarinet, Jeremy Kittel on violin and Evan Perry on solo guitar is given a way of expressing himself against the rhythmic backing provided by Neil Mattson (rhythm guitar) and Gregory Cook (bass).
Of the ten tracks the one that stands out the most is the second ‘Air Mail Special’ in which Bennett works well, whereas interpretation of ‘Nuages’ remains somewhat stiff. This is just a personal observation and the overall positive nature of the project is not adversely affected.
Accordionist Harry Hussey joins the excellent Brighton based jazz group ‘Cafe Noir’ on Bank Holiday Monday 28th May 28th, 4-7pm, for an afternoon of music at the beautiful ‘Real Ale’ pub – The Jolly Tanners, Handcross Road, Staplefield, West Sussex - RH17 6EF.
‘Accordion Art Festival’ is the title of a concert taking place on June 9th, 9.45pm, at the Theater Acquaviva, Mosciano. This event celebrates free reed instruments such as the accordion, bandoneon, diatonic accordion and harmonica. Claudio Azzaro, Federico Orlando, Mario D'Amario and Renzo Ruggieri will all be performing.
The 2007 Lasarte-Oria Accordion Festival takes place on Saturday September 29th at the Casa de Cultura, Lasarte-Oria. Artistes performing include Enrike Zelaia (Spain), Nathalie Boucheix (France), the Elsene Accordion Orchestra (Holland), and the Zero Sette Akordeoi Orkestra (Spain).