Tuesday, July 18, 2006

What's With This Concertina Thing?

I like the fact that after 18 years of marriage I can still throw my husband for a loop now and then. He was looking at my profile on my blog and noticed that "learning to play the concertina" was listed as an interest. The other night he came home and sat down in my office and asks, "What's with this concertina thing?"

It started a couple of years ago and was a combination of things. The first spark was a designer I was working with at the time had decided to learn how to play the accordian. Once the seed was planted, I started listening for the instrument in songs. We took a trip to Florida and went to a bar to see a band called The Yard Dogs. They had a great Zydeco/Cajun sound and one of the guys played the accordian. Then last winter my friend and I were in a Good Will store where they had just set out two accordians to sell. I got to touch and feel it and realized what a heavy and bulky instrument it was. We had a party to attend that night and we were both pretty confident that if we bought the accordians, we could learn "Mama Has A Squeeze Box" within a few hours and perform at the party. Although we both seriously thought about buying them, something in our gut told us not to. I still think it would've been a hoot!

One day this spring I was checking eBay and got into the instruments area and found the concertinas. Why hadn't I thought of that? It's small, less complicated and sounds wonderful in my opinion. So I decided I would look into buying one. One thought kept popping through my head, "can I play the instrument with a missing finger?" I found a concertina forum online and was reassured that it wouldn't be a problem. Once I got reading further on that forum, the decision started getting complicated. There's different styles, key configurations, numbers of keys and constructions of the concertina. Do I get a $120 China-made instrument that won't last very long or do I spend more and get a better quality instrument? I was amazed at the cost of the instruments but they also hold their value. Decisions, decisions!

Since I had waited for two years to get to this point, I've decided I can wait a bit longer and save up for a better instrument. So while I tuck away my pennies for a Stagi 30 button Anglo concertina, I'll keep listening for the instrument in the music around us.
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Here's a few links of concertina music: http://www.caroldenney.com/therich.mp3

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