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4 row CBA brilliance



Athos Bassissi is yet another Italian CBA accordionist from Emilia Romagna who manages to fuse Italian and French styles.

He decided to move to Paris and play professionally there, but is equally at home playing his native Italian repertoire. There is a French influence in this number, but it is quite subtle. Shame about the multi tracking, but it is just a little bit different.



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Nov 27, 2017
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South Australia
Thanks for the link!<EMOJI seq="1f642">?</EMOJI><EMOJI seq="1f44d">?</EMOJI>
Perhaps “Parisian” music really is Italian in origin, as large numbers of Italians settled there during the nineteenth century (probably filling the labour shortage created by the Napoleonic wars), much as the more recent “Muslim” influx in France of the 20th century responded to the labour shortages created by WWII?
So, does “French” music of today have a distinctly middle eastern flavour (as is the case with much Greek music)?



The historians broadly define the creation of the musette genre as a fusion of Auvergnat folk and the Italian accordion. A large number of French accordionists had Italian roots (and surnames), and some of the earlier tunes in the "classic" musette repertoire were lifted directly from popular Italian music. The names of the tunes were altered to French, but the tunes are unmistakably Italian in origin. Even the iconic "French" musette player, Tony Murena, was from Parma in Italy. He never lost his Italian playing style throughout his career as one of the foremost players of the musette genre. There were literally hundreds of other Italians who were living and playing professionally in France at the time. The answer therefore is that it is definitely a fusion of both Italian and French music styles. The gypsy, swing, and jazz influence also has to be taken into consideration.

The attitude of most modern French people appears to be the same with regard to the accordion as attitudes elsewhere. Whilst there will always be a minority who look upon the instrument and music as a tradition to be upheld, the majority of modern types have little or no interest whatsoever. It had its day and that's it. Regional folk styles are another thing altogether, but musette was an urban leisure concept while it lasted. A fair percentage of modern day French players will shudder if you dare to suggest they should play musette, and prefer to play other types of music on their accordions.

The Greek and Turkish thing is easier to explain, as until the enforced population exchanges of 1922, hundreds of thousands of Greeks lived in Turkey, and a slightly smaller number of Turks lived in Greece. There was once a sizeable Greek population in Istanbul, but now there are only a few thousand, and I doubt whether you'll see any Greek flags. The music of the Balkans was also heavily influenced by Turkish music due to the numerous invasions of the Ottomans, and part of Greece is in the Balkans so they got a double dose of Turkish music. I've dabbled in Greek bouzouki on and off for years, but I've never heard anybody who could play one like a Greek (or a Turk). They still make them in both countries, and you'd really need to immerse yourself in the music and culture to be able to carry the playing off the way they do it. The oriental scales or "dromoi" take a bit of getting used to, and can be likened to having to deliberately play a "bum" note in a western scale. I can just about manage some of the easier tunes, but if you're used to playing western music on a guitar, you just don't want to put your fingers on the fretboard where Greek music often requires them. I know there are a lot of Greeks in Australia, so you may be familiar with the music.

There are basically two types of bouzouki music. Western stuff like Never on a Sunday, Zorba etc, and the proper Greek stuff that sounds as though it was written in Izmir or Istanbul. My sister lives on Crete where bouzouki isn't one of the local instruments, but they play them for the tourists. Ironically, one of the greatest exponents of the Cretan lyra is a fellow Irishman, Ross Daly, who moved to Crete over 30 years ago, after he fell in love with the instrument, and makes a decent living out of playing it. I was born in Scotland, but I'm of Irish descent.

Bet you're sorry you asked me about Greek music now. I'm not an expert on it by any means, although I love the bouzouki (as long as they don't play Zorba or other tourist sirtaki crap on it).

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