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12th annual Accordion Noir Festival, coming up Autumn 2019!


Welcome home, squeezebox fans! This website has been light on announcements since Vancouver’s eleventh annual Accordion Festival wrapped back in 2018… but you have found the place to find the latest information about our upcoming twelfth festival coming up in the Autumn of 2019! (If you’d like to take part, you really need to contact us at accnoir at gmail dot com, the plans are already in progress!) In the meantime, do please join us on Accordion Noir radio 10-11 pm every Wednesday night, at the Vancouver Squeezebox Circle get-togethers at Spartacus Books the first Thursday of every month, and at our third annual stage at Car-Free Main Street on June 16th. For breaking updates, catch us on social media — @AccordionNoir on Twitter, @AccordionNoirFest on Instagram, and our three Facebook groups for the Accordion Noir Festival, Accordion Noir fans, and the Vancouver Squeezebox Circle. Cheers & squeeze on!

art by Julie the Bruce


Faces of the Accordion Noir Festival: Melodona


While the critical issue of local accordion repair is not presently a solved problem to our local region, for a few weeks every year at least we get a chance to avail ourselves of the extraordinary skills, talents and expertise of Montreal’s great accordion repair technician Melodona, as we have for every festival since our fifth.  A repair table will be set up at all three nights at the WISE Hall this weekend for repair, demonstration and consultation, and she will remain for a month doing her essential work in Vancouver through Oct 17th, to ensure all of your Hallowe’en accordion preparations are in order.  She notes:

“Those who have specific rare needs are invited to inform me in advance (at, so I can make sure to bring all the required replacement parts. You have until noon on Thursday Sept 14th to do that!”


2018-09-13: Accordion Noir Fest pre-show — “Echoes and Ripples” art opening


On the eve of the 11th annual Accordion Noir Festival, “Echoes and Ripples” is a celebration of visual art concerned with and inspired by live music, ranging from concert and festival poster designs to more profound meditations on the internal experience of performing or listening to music.

In addition to paintings by multi-Accordion-Noir-Festival poster artist Elin Jonsson, this show will be featuring visual artwork by Mister Fire-Man, Jenny Ritter, Pinguino Kolb and Darren Williams, among others.

Because art imitates life, stay for live accordion music by Rowan Lipkovits of the Creaking Planks, Teapot in the Tuba, and the Legion of Flying Monkeys Horn Orchestra.

The opening begins at 6 pm and runs until midnight.  This exhibition is taking place at Creative Coworkers (343 Railway Street, Vancouver) and will be up for two weeks; admission to the opening is by donation ($10 suggested donation includes a drink ticket) and pre-sale tickets are available online at Eventbrite.

Accordion Noir Festival XI poster announcement

Following a fruitful collaboration between Vancouver’s notorious accordion band the Creaking Planks and Imaginary Games, developers of the free mobile CCG Afterland, introductions were made enabling Swedish artist Elin Jonsson and the Accordion Noir Festival to be drawn into each others’ orbits, where she has graced us with three consecutive festival posters, consummate in their enchanted noir-ness.  This year’s is no less magical.

And for the first time, here you see on the poster the complete slate of scheduled festival performers!  Those being… on Friday, September 14th:

And on Saturday, September 15th:

Finally, on Sunday, September 16th, as you can see we’ll be playing host to:

We still have some secrets and surprises to spring on you, but there, in broad strokes, is our festival.

Now some of you have expressed some concern over the fest’s poster: to wit, the pure anatomical masochism of a woman playing accordion without any kind of protective garment over the upper portion of her body — not just a punchline, but a real and imminent pinching hazard, every squeeze a risky hazard!  To put to rest your concerns of our mascot’s perilous situation, the poster designer has clarified that the fantastic scene depicted derives from the fables and legends of her native Sweden, and she is assuredly protected by some ancient magic — the real danger is to you, the listener!

In Swedish folklore we have Näcken who is a naked man, playing violin in the river. If you come to close to the river and hear him playing you will (as a woman) be hypnotized by the music and be pulled into the water and live a life under water. This woman in the poster is flirting with this folklore. 💛

Also, though you can’t see it, the reverse side of her instrument is surely covered with a padded leather back panel to protect the delicate pressed-cardboard bellows from water damage… and also afford the player some comfort and pinch protection.  Even gents and the clothed appreciate the frictionless buffer!

(Do please note that we are not trying to exploitatively titillate you with an objectified, sexualized female body — actually, the best poster art suggestion from our administration involved a cage full of tropical birds! — but as with the “Accordion Babes” pin-up calendar (which, ahem, there should be copies of for sale at the merch table this year), this undertaking was also the deliberate creative decision of a woman artist choosing to express herself in this way for her own reasons.  All we can do is write long blog posts exploring her choices.)

These should be hitting the streets very soon now in poster and handbill form — if you like, take a selfie with one and share it on social media with the #NoirFestXI hashtag to show the world what colour you like your squeezebox music!  (The correct answer is: noir.)

2018-09-16: Accordion Noir Fest XI – Wrap party!

I know, I know — every day is a party with an accordion in the house. But the time eventually comes for this free-reed celebration to leave the crowds of hundreds and move to the kitchen, to delight no more than a dozen or so family members and neighbours at a time. Happily, that time will not yet be quite upon us until the 17th! In the meantime, we reconvene with old friends and new for one last time to bring our spirits gently back down to the real world after two days in the accordion heavens, preparing ourselves emotionally for another twelve months of having to settle for weekly radio updates, monthly get-togethers and such meagre local accordion concerts as are produced by other organizations.  In the meantime, let’s go out on a high note!


Illiteratty ( are a wild crew of metafolk musicians who have gone out into the wide world of music and returned to make delicious sonic stew with only the very best ingredients they have found in every other genre they encountered. (With such a selective and severe mandate, it’s no surprise that the accordion has floated to the top!)

A Cavalcade of Salmon Avalanche: Over the past six years, the tireless Katheryn Petersen ( has done everything for this festival except play music — which was really burying the lede, since as VCC’s first graduate in accordion studies, she has a mighty backlog of magnificent musical wisdoms just lying in wait for the opportunity to drop on us! We felt that flipping that equation on its head would be a more fair way to go about things this year, acknowledging and celebrating her long contributions to our festival by devoting a healthy slice of stage time to her and her selection of choice musical collaborators, from Teapot in the Tuba to Lindy Gray.

You will no doubt remember Basilissa ( from their set at this summer’s Accordion Noir stage at Car-Free Main Street — or if not there, surely their stint at the Jazz festival left an impression! Either way, we are thrilled to once again have an opportunity to share with you the bittersweet fado-infused musical stylings of this Portuguese ensemble.

From Alberta to France to Sweden to Spain and now back to BC again, the peregrinations of Wendy McNeill ( mirror in a way the travels of the accordion itself, picking up strange and delightful new tricks and inflections with every new territory it passed through. She has a new album you may not have heard yet, “Hunger Made You Brave”, and hopefully this festival appearance will set that omission straight.

All three nights of the 11th Annual Accordion Noir Festival take place at the WISE Hall (1882 Adanac St. at Victoria, Vancouver, BC V5L 2E2). Doors open at 8 pm. Admission is $20 at the door or you can purchase advance tickets online, as indicated below:


2018-09-15: Accordion Noir Fest XI – Dance party!

In keeping with a venerable Accordion Noir Festival tradition, Saturday night will officially be building to a raging dance party, featuring four bands from very different walks with at least one free-reed thing in common.


Tsunami Piñata ( hails from the wilds of Washington’s Pacific Northwest, echoing the geographical collision of the forests meeting the coast with the sound of the banjo meeting the accordion, playing from a consciously and conspicuously varied repertoire of world musics.

Portland, Oregon’s Dogtooth & Nail ( exemplify one more of the varied textures of Cascadian accordion-banjo duos, with driving bluesy political folk tunes about environmentalism, feminism, anti-capitalism and creating change.

Queercoastal indie folk-rock with an intersectional angle, The Argyle Embargo ( is working toward a more inclusive and equitable world with authentic storytelling, progressive pop sensibilities… and an accordion.

Cultural trends come and go in cycles, and we have good news: nearly 60 years after the polka craze was driven deep underground into thrift store record bins, the odometer has somehow ticked over and suddenly Polka Time! ( is the hottest dance ticket in town. There’s no point in arguing, just shut up and bring your dancing shoes.

All three nights of the 11th Annual Accordion Noir Festival take place at the WISE Hall (1882 Adanac St. at Victoria, Vancouver, BC V5L 2E2). Doors open at 8 pm. Admission is $20 at the door or you can purchase advance tickets online, as indicated below:

2018-09-14: Accordion Noir Festival 11 Opening Night — the Classics! with Geoff Berner, Jason Webley, Amy Denio and Cindy Emch

They said it couldn’t be done, but we mounted an alt-accordion festival anyway.  And then… we kept on re-mounting it every year.  Here we are at year eleven, revisiting the well at our opening night to pay homage to some of the great artists whose momentum helped to squeeze us this far over the past decade:


Roaring out of the gate with a slate of festival luminary deep cuts from Accordion Noir’s distant past, rediscover why you fell in love with the bent, circus-like sounds of noir accordion all over again!

Singer/author Geoff Berner (, klezmer rebel and the patron Saint of the Accordion Noir movement has been involved in just about every year’s edition of our festival, showing an entire generation of accordion punks that another, less bubbly, world is possible.

Legendary busker-king Jason Webley ( returns to our festival for the first time since its second instalment, prepared to howl like a werewolf biting Tom Waits, spin yarns like a Russian sailor and break your heart like a forgotten dream.

“Unclassifiable” avant-garde composer Amy Denio (, the only performer we’ve hosted to have worked with KMFDM, Chuck D AND Pauline Oliveros, is back at the Accordion Noir Festival at long last… as we’ve finally just about recovered from her appearance at our inaugural year back in 2008.

Inspired by 1920s cabaret music, murder ballads and Leonard Cohen, opener Emchy ( has been keeping the squeeze dark and alt for over a decade through her projects (list heavily abbreviated) Rhubarb Whiskey, Vagabondage and the Oakland Wine Drinkers Union, Local 88.

All three nights of the 11th Annual Accordion Noir Festival take place at the WISE Hall (1882 Adanac St. at Victoria, Vancouver, BC V5L 2E2). Doors open at 8 pm. Admission is $20 at the door or you can purchase advance tickets online, as indicated below: