Socalled (Montreal)

World turbo-folk, hip-hop and klezmer funk: genre-bending sounds for the boundary-breakers and beautiful outliers

Socalled Socalled is a pianist, producer, composer, arranger, rapper, singer, journalist, photographer, filmmaker, magician, cartoonist and puppet maker based in Montreal, Quebec. The subject of “The Socalled Movie”, a feature documentary produced by the National Film Board of Canada, he has been making records and touring the world for over a decade. His mission is to cross boundaries, to mix old and new sounds, acoustic and electric instruments, digital and analog recording techniques, while exploring different cultures and styles, all in the service of creating somethingcatchy, smart, hilarious, emotional and timeless. Socalled’s latest release, The Season is “a puppet-heavy indie musical fable for the 21st century,” chronicling the trials of a close-knit crew of forest animals who battle a new threat: an infestation of aliens from another planet.

Geoff Berner (Vancouver)

Eastern European klezmer meets punk rock: songs for odd, bookish people who like to drink

Geoff Berner Hailed by the Globe and Mail as “The Avenging Angel of klezmer”, musician and author Geoff Berner has earned his notoriety with live shows that tend to devolve into crazed, chaotic, drunken dancing and psychotic laughter. He has built a sizable cult following through extensive touring, converting international audiences to his sometimes dirty, often political approach to traditional Jewish Music. His latest offering is Festival Man, a darkly hilarious novel chronicling the underbelly of the Canadian folk festival circuit. 

Miss Murgatroid (Portland)

 Unearthly musical landscapes with a driving rhythmic heart: avant-experimental accordion for dreamers


Experimental accordionatrix Alicia J. Rose rose to prominence in the late 1990’s avant-accordion scene as Miss Murgatroid, a fantastically strange musical project built on Rose’s inimitable melodic soundscapes which are coaxed, cajoled and distorted from a 1930’s Dallape accordion. Her much-anticipated appearance at the festival comes after a ten-year musical hiatus, during which Rose became a prolific photographer, and directed music videos for the likes of Mastodon and Bob Mould. Prepare for lushly ambient dreamworlds, tender monster tales and frenetic forays into the dramatically arcane. 

Lonesome Leash (New Orleans/Los Angeles)

Tense and unsettling lo-fi pop meets lush orchestras of accordion and horn: soundtracks for the triumphant and the nervous

LonesomeLeash 1848 x 1848 Splitting his time between New Orleans and Los Angeles, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Walt McClements is quickly earning a following with his mesmerizing stage show, which sees him multi-tasking between sinuous accordion, lush feedback effects, drum loops and brass flourishes. A lean and gorgeously messy solo affair, Lonesome Leash trades in the heavy-breathing ecstatic joy and fatalistic romanticism that pervades New Orleans, but translates to any location and into any language.

Wintermitts (Vancouver)

Dazzling orchestral pop and tender rock outs: soothing souls in a way that puts Chicken Soup to shame


A genre-bending six-piece from Vancouver, Wintermitts waltz in French and English, rocking trumpets and accordions, shredding sweet guitar riffs and glockenspiels. With the recent addition of Tess Kitchen (e.s.l) on accordion and trumpet, this group of closely collaborating friends and multi-instrumentalists has been working, recording and touring together since 2005, sharing stages across Canada with bands such as Hannah Georgas, You Say Party! and Julie Doiron. Equal parts chanson d’amour and Canadian folk-rock, Wintermitts’ heart-felt music will keep you warm and comfy on even the coldest winter night.

Ol’ Crocodile (Montreal/France)

Bluegrass, folk, punk and country: music to make the streets dance

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After years of busking, Ol’ Crocodile has earned the ability to make even the most cynical pedestrian join the party. Their accordion-boasting ‘Folk Sale’ (dirty folk) has made them infamous in Quebec as part of a movement that espouses the right to meet, to dance, to get dirty and to spread inspiration and ideas. The close line between these ideals and our homegrown politics of joyful rebellion promises to make Ol’ Crocodile’s first appearance in Western Canada a party with a deeper cause– uniting two coasts of underground movers and shakers through the powers of accordion revelry.

Robyn Carrigan (Vancouver/Nova Scotia)

The Kate Bush of Nova Scotia


Born and raised in the “Gaelic Belt” of north shore Nova Scotia, Robyn spent her early years bouncing on her Mama’s knee to Maritime fiddle and piano tunes. In her teens Robyn discovered an appetite for more exotic flavours and classical, jazz, country, improvised music, Hindustani ragas and Russian song all got rolled into the mix. Recently she travelled to India to study voice and harmonium and to Scotland for Gaelic music and song. She has performed and recorded with musical greats like Matthew Good, Sarah McLachlan, No Means No, Carolyn Mark, Steve Dawson, Kim Barlow and many others. A successful singer/songwriter, Robyn spent many years touring both in Canada and internationally, with a variety of projects, including her critically acclaimed roots band Bottleneck. She recently founded a new Gaelic language band CAN CALA with Hip Hop artist Corvid.

Demon Squadron (Vancouver)

Deep grooves and rebel anthems

Demon Squadron, Jack Garton’s (Maria in the Shower) new project, is a seriously danceable mix of deep grooves and rebel anthems anchored on the soul drum and bass moves of Amrit Basi and Michael Alleyne.

The Creaking Planks (Vancouver)

Alt-folk jug band of the damned: “Novelty music for the humiliated… laughing gas for music geeks.” — The Nerve

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The Benedict Arnolds of the trad set and guiding spirits of the festival, The Creaking Planks squander a small army of perfectly pleasant old-timey acoustic instruments, accordion always front and centre, on clever arrangements and skilled performances of unlikely repertoire that ranges from inappropriately avant-garde to downright bizarre. Alongside Geoff Berner, Rowan Lipkovits and The Creaking Planks are the scrappy underground heart that kickstarted the Accordion Noir festival. But why do they do it? It’s anyone’s guess, but happily as it turns out, the unexpected end result is pretty fun: a scene that has continued to grow each year to now include further far-flung iconoclastic fellow travellers such as Socalled and Ms. Murgatroid. So throw aside your paradigms and your programs and put on your dancing shoes — rumour has it this could well be the last Festival appearance of these longtime favorites.

Pathetic Fallacy (Vancouver)

Witty chamber rock meets musical theater: a costumed spectacular about love and global warming


In Pathetic Fallacy, true stories of DOOMED young love are translated into the language of weather and performed by a 14-piece musical ensemble led by accordionist and writer Barbara Adler. Inspired by the teen-disaster songs made famous by The Shangri-las, Adler asked five actors to tell her stories about their own failed, youthful romances. These interviews became a set of intricate and catchy musical numbers that mash together weather talk and personal tragedy against a backdrop of 60’s girl pop and rock operatics. Channeling the drama of ’snowmaggedons’, Pathetic Fallacy is a wry musical report on our messy affairs: with each other, and with our warming planet. Featuring The Company B Singers, Peggy Lee (cello), Samuel Davidson (clarinet), James Meger (bass), Kevin Romain (drums) and Gavin Youngash (electric guitar).

Sick Boss (Vancouver)

Triumphant waltzes, moody dirges and darkly gorgeous composition: an instrumental escape-pod from the everyday


Noted Vancouver accordionist Tyson Naylor joins JUNO Award-winning Pugs and Crows guitarist Cole Schmidt in Sick Boss: a cherry-picked cast of Vancouver All-Stars performing Schmidt’s cinematic and cerebral originals. Drawing together influences from creative improvisation, rock, folk and modern jazz, Sick Boss charts the broad musical landscape of contemporary accordion. Featuring Peggy Lee cello, James Meger bass, Dan Gaucher drums and Jeremy Page clarinet.

Orkestar Šlivovica (Vancouver)

Your average brass marching band, embalmed in plum brandy:everyone dance!


Wandering the streets of Vancouver with battered and ancient instruments, dressed in the highest fashions of your great-grandparent’s youth, Orkestar Slivovica brings the fabulous circle folk dances that turn everywhere they go intoa Balkan wedding party. With tunes from Vancouver, Serbia, Macedonia, India and other distant lands, this collective of East-Vancouver musicians plays as if they’d been shipped to a Serbian village for a year, delivering insanely fast dances, heart-wrenching ballads and ample opportunities for strangers to throw their arms around each other and shout along.

The Plodes (Vancouver)

Scrappy pop-punk with a sense of humor: a manic rallying cry for young artists, misfits and anyone drinking through their student loan

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Originating in the decidedly un-seedy basement-rock scene of Calgary in 2010, the Vancouver-based Plodes attempt to bring a cartoonish, surreal sensibility to the sometimes stuffy world of independent punk. Frontman and guitarist Reid Blakley’s lyrics—which on the surface are seemingly simple vehicles for rants about animals and self-absorption—provide a worthy adversary to drummer Gemma Goletski’s rapid-fire percussion, bassist Mat Turner’s manic precision and accordionist Alexa Fraser’s smooth accompaniment. The Plodes have managed to tour the Pacific Northwest twice without use of their own vehicle, or sanity, or even necessarily all of their members.

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