Showing off the instrument’s versatility, this international festival offers a month of squeezebox fever.
Featuring both regional and international acts, the brainchild of local impresario Friedl Preisl (who also organizes the Klezmer festival Klezmore each November) goes into its 17th year, continuing to promote this traditional folk instrument’s use in both traditional and new, innovative approaches.
Their special theme this year is Die grüne Mark (The Green March), a poetic name for the Austrian state of Styria, known for a local variation of the classic accordion: the Steirische Knopfharmonika, which has buttons on both sides instead of a piano-style keyboard on the right.
Two Styrian acts will play a double concert for the occassion: Chili da Mur, a four-woman vocal group that sings both Austrian traditionals and R&B accompanied by an accordion, and Folksmilch, a trio that fuses Tango, Balkan swing and Austrian folk music, among other styles.
Other highlights include: Rachelle & Nancy Garniez, a duo from New York that combines mother Nancy’s classical piano with daughter Rachel’s own improvisations; Poland’s celebrated Motion Trio, an all-accordion combo noted for their versatility; Dobrek Bistro, a funky, multi-national jazz band celebrating its 16th birthday; Tori Tango, specializing in melancholy, original Tango compositions by Slovenian bandleader Jure Tori; the 16th Guinness Celtic Spring Caravan, featuring three acclaimed Irish folk bands; and Upper Austrian folk/hiphop heroes Attwenger at the closing gala.
Rounding out the program are swing dance nights with noted bands such as Gewürztraminer; movie matinees screening silent classics such as Buster Keaton’s The General, accompanied by accordion;
and music workshops with pros.
17th International Vienna Accordion Festival
February 20 to March 20, 2016, various locations.