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Octopus for afters @ the Castle Inn

Mike Rowbotham and his friends playing some tunes at the Castle Inn St Ives.

Accordeon: After the invention of the accordion in 1829, its popularity spread throughout the world, in no small measure due to the polka craze. “Once the polka became a craze in Paris and London during the spring of 1844, it diffused rapidly to the rest of the world. . . . In March 1844, polka-mania took Paris: common people, servants, workers and, one assumes, anyone else who wasn’t too stuffy were dancing the polka in the streets of the capital and soon in Bordeaux and other French cities as well. A week or so later it took London by storm. And from these two great centers of fashion, empire, and influence, the polka diffused rapidly upward into the rest of French and English society and outward to the rest of the world.” [3]

Except for a brief moment in time during the 1830s and 1840s when the accordion was heard by French aristocracy during Salon music concerts, the instrument has always been associated with the common people. The accordion was spread across the globe by the waves of Europeans who emigrated to various parts of the world in the late 19th century and early 20th century.

The mid-19th-century accordion became a favorite of folk musicians for several reasons: “The new instrument’s popularity [among the common masses] was a result of its unique qualities. Firstly, it was much louder than all the older folk instruments put together. It could easily be heard in even the wildest pub above the stomping of dancing feet. It was also the prototype of a ‘one man band’ with bass and chords on the left-hand side and buttons for the melody on the right, and you could still sing along and beat the rhythm with your feet. The instrument needed no tuning and was always ready to play, but the most ingenious thing about the early one-row squeezebox was that you couldn’t play it really badly. Even if you lost the melody it still sounded fine.” [4]

 

Mike Rowbotham and his friends playing some tunes at the Castle Inn St Ives

Mike Rowbotham and his friends playing some tunes at the Castle Inn St Ives

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