Accordions in Irish Music
Date: Sun, 24 Apr 94 01:51:45 PDT
Subject: Accordions in Irish Music
From: Charlie Bowen <charlie@GIANT.INTRANET.COM>
Mention of Michael Coleman, the great Irish fiddler, reminds me that
accordions (squeeze boxes, or just boxes for short) were regarded as
an unnecessary addition to the Irish music scene by more conservative
musicians, at least in Coleman's day. (Never heard an accordion
called an Irish banjo, but there'd be some justice in it.)
I've heard that he was sitting with a bunch of friends in a bar in the
Bronx, one night back there in the twenties, and someone came around
taking up a collection to pay the funeral expenses of an impoverished
accordionist. (This was necessary because ripsnorting funerals are the
most important events in the lives of us Irish, if the preposition "in"
is acceptable when applied to the star of the occasion.)
Coleman didn't happen to hear what the collection was about, and when
the cigar box came around to him, he asked the man next to him what it
was for. "Oh, they want a dollar to bury a box-player," he was told.
Coleman dug a bill out of his pocket. "Here's two dollars," he said.
"Bury two of them."
© 1994 Peter Langston