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California Squeezebox Stories

Take a musical road trip across California!

October 27, 2011 | By Federal/State Partnership Staff

Think the accordion, or the squeezebox, is all about the Polka? Think again. Squeezebox Stories, a radio documentary hosted by Marco Werman of PRI's The World, tackles the cultural, social, and musical history of the people's instrument, the accordion.

Listening to Squeezebox Stories is like taking a musical road trip across the state of California, while also learning more about the importance of this "global instrument" to the many diverese immigrant communities that now call California their home. The series covers both traditional and popular styles of accordion music, from German polka, Mexican norteño, Zydeco, Cajun, Irish folk music, Balkan dance music, and also explores the modern hybridized and ecelectic accordion-based musical traditions. You will hear histories and personal stories from a diverse group of musicians, including that of an old master and his young apprentice, an Arabic accordion master, as well as members of the Oaxacan community in California's Central Valley. Remember to take the time to explore Squeezebox Stories' website, where you can learn more about the history of the squeezebox and read more about the accordion's involvement in immigration and migration patterns of the different ethnic groups covered in the program.


Squeezebox Stories was produced by radio journalist, Julie Caine, and ethnomusicologist and accordion player, Marié Abe.

Support comes from the California Council for the Humanities and the Arhoolie Foundation.