The first is an instrument I always loved, the second I seemed to never really like, and the last I never really heard of until yesterday.
I have no clue how to proceed to make sense of the idea in my head, so I will just start by saying as a kid, I was influenced by an amazing stand up bass player named “slam” Stewart who for whatever reason, lived in my hometown of Binghamton, ny.
I am fairly confident most of the city had no idea who he was, or how talented and skilled of a musician he was. What I remember was his smiling face and piece of his educational shtick he would do showing us how limited the range of a piano was with octaves versus what he could do on the stand up.
The accordion was an instrument that ranked up with the lap pedal steel guitar to my ears as Satan's instrument. Don’t get upset, it is a personal nickname I gave to each. My mom could play the accordion, and growing up in my house, my dad LOVES polka music. As a kid, I could not stand coming home from church with my dad whistling and having a jolly good time listening to his polkas.
for me, every time I heard polkas or an accordion, I was transported in my mind back to holidays at the relative's being force to "try" (mom and dads polite way of saying, "don't offend the hosts) “homemade” ethnic foods like kielbasa and then getting to relive the experience on the way back home when I got carsick and said, “dad, can you pull over, I am gong to puke.”
Up until yesterday I had no clue what a Hackbrett was. I think in English it is called the hammered dulcimer?
Now. Close your eyes, and imagine the three instruments doing bill Haleys classic “rock around the clock.”
“One, two, three o’clock, four o’clock, rock.” With an accordion and this hackbrett gizmo. sounds pretty odd, huh?
Well? I have no clue how these three guys did it, but dang, it sounded pretty good with all the instruments. This trio was the musical entertainment for the little village’s Swiss day celebration. I heard someone mentioned they had no idea how to play with Swiss national anthem, but I will just say how they took old Swiss standards and converted relatively modern rock music into songs that were fun to listen to took some talent.
As I grew older, I learned it doesn’t matter what the instrument is, but rather how good the player is and with how much heart they play with that I enjoy. A few years ago I heard an accordion player work out classical music and I said, “That was amazing.” As a kid, I was spoiled with “slam” Stewart playing for us kids. The steel pedal guitar still makes my body cringe, but after the time in Nashville, I “get” why it is used it means to country music. In Nashville, I gained great respect for the people who write the songs and test them out with songwriter’s nights.
It has been nice to hear a blend of traditional Bavarian music with modern twist in Switzerland. There was a warm-up band for Elton john called BLIGG that I really enjoyed watching on stage. It reminded me of Parliament Funkadelic and George Clinton on stage with Bootsy turning in his bass for an accordion or squeezebox. "bring out da women!" Just a bunch of energy coming off the stage in a creative way.
So…while an instrument might sound horrific to you as a child. Try hearing it in a different light, as you get older. You might be surprised.
I still giggle when I think of the three lads playing rock and roll on the aforementioned instruments.