Bob picked up the accordion when he was 5 and never put it down. He took to it quickly and is really good at it. As in, amazing. He played professionally during high school and college. He plays for fun now; he even played at our wedding.
Every year, Cotati, California hosts a two-day accordion festival where accordionists around the world come together and play their hearts out. I've heard about it for years. This year we went.
This is the Jim Boggio Statue in Cotati's La Plaza Park. Jim was a well-loved musician and accordionist and founder of the Cotati Accordion Festival, which started in 1990. He died in 1996 and as a tribute to him, this bronze statue was erected. The crown and the crocheted cape was added for the festival. At least I hope.
The music was great and varied. We heard polkas and ballads. Songs of French, Italian, Russian and Mexican origins.
Across the park The Cotati Lyons Club hosted a one-hour documentary called Beyond the Bellows that goes into the history of accordions, the varied types of accordions and the transformation of it through the years. Part of the documentary references that at some point in the accordion's history, people who played accordions were often brought into an act for comic relief. Accordion playing was often part of Vaudeville acts. The accordion, as well as its players, were considered eccentric and quirky. Let's just say the Cotati Festival seemed to keep up that tradition.
The program, pictured above, would have you believe that it's more burlesque. I can attest that most of the Cotati festival attendees, albeit at times dressed peculiarly, were at least dressed, largely because it was cold and foggy.
There were lots of accordion vendors and accordion players like this guy testing out this one.
Accordion players vary in age. This young man was great.
This is the type of accordion that B plays, a piano accordion. There were lots of choices here.
Here's a mix of both piano and chromatic accordions. They're amazingly ornate and really difficult to play.
Look at this one. Love the blue.
Apparently if you're a beginner, this is the accordion for you.
Away from center state was the Jam Tent. While the inside's aesthetics weren't much to speak of, despite the advertisement, the players were. Such talent.
They each took turns calling out songs.
They were playing Bill Bailey Won't You Please Come Home during this shot.
This gal had a lot going on. Her feet were stomping and acting as an instrument. She was a working it something fierce.
I'm not sure what to say here. This gal was carrying around this thing. Let's just call him accordion boy. She was helping me out by pointing accordion boy at me, so I could get a better shot.
I love the way this gal slings her accordion on her back. Shades of Johnny Cash come to mind.
All in all it was a fun event. More importantly, B had a great time. And that's all that matters when you're married to an accordionist.